A total of 116 Taiwanese yesterday morning arrived home from Warsaw on board a charter flight operated by LOT Polish Airlines, after being stranded in the European country for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was also the first-ever direct passenger flight between Taiwan and Poland, said the Polish Office in Taipei, the de facto Polish embassy in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic relations.
The two countries signed an air transport agreement in March 2015.
Photo: Tony Yao, Taipei Times
The airplane landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6:24am after a 13-hour flight.
The plane had to make a three-hour detour, as it was not allowed to fly over China.
The passengers, mostly students and businesspeople, were quarantined upon arrival for 14 days in accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s instructions after undergoing initial health checks.
The charter flight was made possible through the efforts of Lin’s International Consulting Co Ltd, an overseas student service, and coordination between Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration and LOT.
It took the parties involved three to four weeks to arrange the charter flight, Lin’s International said.
There would be three more such flights to evacuate Taiwanese from Poland in the near term, the company said.
Without the charter flights, the Taiwanese in Poland would have had to travel to Germany by land for more than 10 hours before they could board a flight home, which could increase the risk of infection, it added.
The Taoyuan airport assigned ground personnel and cleaning staff as early as 2am to prepare for the arrival and arranged six buses to take the passengers to designated quarantine centers.
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