The Spanish government will repatriate this Friday on a charter flight to some 350 travelers trapped in Colombia by the health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, diplomatic sources reported.
The repatriation will take place on an Iberia plane chartered by the embassy in Bogotá, which arrived empty in the Colombian capital and is expected to depart from El Dorado International Airport at 14:00 local time (19:00 GMT) today.
“This is a remarkable effort by the embassy and consulate that has been successfully crowned thanks to the collaboration of the Colombian authorities and the willingness of the airline,” the Spanish ambassador to Colombia, Pablo Gómez de Olea, told Efe .
Some 300 Spaniards not resident in Colombia will travel on the plane, surprised by the suspension of flights in the country, and approximately 50 Colombians residing in Spain or citizens of other European countries.
The Colombian government restricted the entry of foreigners since mid-month to contain the coronavirus pandemic and this week closed the skies for national and international flights, thus only allowing repatriation charter for humanitarian reasons.
The cost of the ticket will be $ 300, a preferential rate set by the airline for operating expenses that will be assumed by each traveler.
MORE THAN 2,600 SPANIARDS CAUGHT
The ambassador explained that until last Thursday, before the isolation ordered by the Bogota City Hall began, and which was followed by the national quarantine that will run until April 13, there were still some 2,600 Spanish tourists in Colombia, of whom more than 2,000 have already managed to return with the support of the consulate.
“For a week we have been doing this work that focused on the flights that left from Thursday to Sunday, and thus we managed to greatly reduce the number of Spaniards stranded in Colombia,” he added.
The ambassador underlined the “great effort of the Spanish State and the airlines” to manage these repatriations, a task that has involved around 20 people in the Spanish consulate.
The approximately 150 Spanish travelers who remain in Colombia do so because for some reason they have not wanted to leave or because they are outside Bogotá and “have not been able to move due to the difficulties of the measures imposed by confinement throughout the country.”
In this sense, the ambassador also highlighted the support of the Faranda Hotels & Resorts company, which gave “preferential rates for Spanish tourists stranded here” in all its establishments in the country.
In recent days, hundreds of tourists from countries like Switzerland, France and Israel have left Colombia on humanitarian flights chartered by their governments.