Officials in Cyprus say a chartered flight evacuating US citizens out of Egypt was expected to arrive on the island yesterday.
US embassy officials had no immediate details on the number of passengers, and how many flights would be landing in Cyprus yesterday.
US Assistant Secretary of State Janice Jacobs told reporters on Sunday she expects it would take several flights over the coming days to fly out thousands of Americans who want to leave Egypt, through Europe. She said the US might also send charters to other cities such as Luxor, if there are Americans stranded there.
Americans taking the charter will be billed for the flight and must make their own travel arrangements home from Europe.
Canada also announced on Sunday it would charter flights to fly Canadians who wish to leave to London, Paris or Frankfurt.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said charter flights were to begin yesterday. He said those onboard the charter flights will have to sign a contract saying they will repay their portion of the costs.
Australia, however, is offering free flights for its citizens.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said yesterday that Canberra had chartered a Boeing 747 to airlift Australians out of Egypt.
“I have determined that we will make available an evacuation flight for Australians from Egypt. The flight will be a Qantas plane that the government has chartered,” Gillard told reporters.
“There is significant pressure on commercial flights and some disruption and delay,” she said. “In these circumstances I have determined that the best course of action is to make this assisted evacuation flight available ... at no cost to Australians who travel on it.”
Due to depart tomorrow, the jet will ferry passengers to London or Frankfurt, where it will be met by Australian foreign officials who would help arrange onward travel. Further flights would be chartered if necessary.
Taiwan’s government is also arranging charter flights for its nationals.
At present, there are more than 500 Taiwanese in 28 tour groups in Egypt, while the number of individual tourists was estimated at about 30, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The first charter flight, with 150 available seats, was scheduled to fly from Jordan to Cairo at 8pm last night and then depart at 10:30pm for Frankfurt, Germany, Department of African Affairs Director-General Samuel Chen (陳士良) said in Taipei last night.
Chen said local airlines would be available at Frankfurt Airport to fly Taiwanese home under the arrangement of local travel agencies and airlines.
Both China Airlines and EVA Airways fly to Frankfurt.
The ministry has sent Liu Yu-ming (劉裕民), a diplomat stationed in Jordan, to Cairo to take care of Taiwanese and other charter flights from Cairo to Frankfurt will be made available at the earliest possible date, it said.
Taiwanese in Egypt are being advised to contact the ministry’s offices in Jordan and Libya or the office of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council in Cairo, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, China said it sent two planes yesterday to pick up its citizens stranded in Cairo. The People’s Daily Web site says Air China and Hainan Airlines have each sent an Airbus A330 plane to Cairo to evacuate Chinese citizens. The report said there were more than 500 Chinese at the airport.