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First US charter flight to Beijing since epidemic arrives with 87 passengers on board

作者:admin 2020-09-15

First US charter flight to Beijing since epidemic arrives with 87 passengers on board

Photo: VCG



 

The first direct US charter flight to
Beijing since the COVID-19 pandemic has arrived, the American Chamber of Commerce in China announced on Sunday on its Twitter account.

With 87 passengers, the plane flew directly from San Francisco to Beijing, according to the chamber. The flight is the first US multi-company charter flight to fly from outside China into Beijing.

The passengers, who ranged in age from 0 to 81, took off at 9 am local time on Saturday for a 10.5-hour flight to Narita International Airport to allow for a planned crew change. The passengers stayed on board in Tokyo, before the same aircraft completed the final leg of the journey, arriving into Beijing International Capital Airport at 3:09 pm on Sunday, per a press release of the AmCham China on Monday.

After a successful health check and an efficient customs process, the passengers were transported in seven buses to a designated hotel in Beijing, where they will be placed under quarantine for two weeks, according to Beijing government regulations. The Beijing municipal government has confirmed that all passengers tested negative for COVID-19.

A person familiar with the issue told the Global Times on Sunday that the last few days were crazy with so many details to coordinate, but the arrival of the charter flight is groundbreaking. The person requested not to be named because the conversation was intended to be private.

And in a telephone interview with the AmCham on Monday, a staff said the chamber is busy working on epidemic prevention, but refused to disclose any other details on the chartered flight.

"We are thrilled to support so many members' journey back to China, so that they can resume their work and lives here," commented AmCham China President Alan Beebe on Monday.

The Global Times learned that the Beijing municipal government offered support for the charter flight.

The local government provided preliminary approval for AmCham China's "Back to Work" charter flight on August 14. The charter flight, with ticket prices at a reasonable cost of between $3,000 and $5,000, was initially planned for August 28 but was delayed to September 12, giving it more time to ensure that all passengers could obtain visas and take pre-departure COVID-19 tests, according to AmCham.

Nearly 200 people signed up for the chartered flight, but the requirements were very strict and some weren't eligible, according to information previously provided by AmCham China to the Global Times.

Employees of members of AmCham China who work in Beijing were eligible to take the flight. They were also required to have an invitation letter from the Beijing local government, said the chamber.

The chamber previously stated that at least 5,000 to 6,000 people in the broader business community remain stranded outside the country, and up to 10,000 people with plans to return to China have been unable to do so. 

Information provided by AmCham China stated that one of the main barriers to return is the requirement to obtain an invitation, and to get another visa to re-enter even if the traveler holds a valid visa already. 


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