COVID19: Cyprus expects to repatriate 3,000 people in May

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A total of 3,000 Cypriots are expected to be repatriated this month with an average of 200-300 people being flown back to Cyprus daily, said Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos,.

He told CNA, that since the decree banning commercial flights on March 21, a total of 5,056 Cypriot nationals and residents have been repatriated, this was mainly between April 13 – 3 May, when 4,126 returned home.

Repatriation flights will continue as long the ban is in place, the minister said.

He said there were around 80 Cypriot citizens in Russia awaiting repatriation after they booked tickets for a flight that never took-off.

The flight was chartered by the Russian government to repatriate Russian citizens on May 3 but was eventually cancelled. Russian authorities said they will reschedule the flight.

“If it is not rescheduled by Tuesday, we will proceed with our own flight, similar to what we do for the UK and Greece,” Karousos said.

Flights are arranged from several airports in the UK and Greece, as well as from Frankfurt that functions as a hub to assemble passengers from other countries.

Cyprus also make use of emergency flights scheduled by other countries to repatriate their own nationals.

Karousos said that people have boarded flights to Cyprus from Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait while a flight from the Netherlands is scheduled to take place in the next few days.

Repatriation has been arranged for humanitarian reasons or people flying back to attend funerals of close relatives.