Air France KLM
An Air France Airbus A320 airplane lands at the Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Roissy, near Paris, France. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: More than 700 French and European Union (EU) nationals have been recently flown back to their respective families aboard two special flights by Air France from Dubai to Paris, an airline official confirmed to Gulf News.

“Air France has operated two dedicated flights from Dubai to Paris, carrying a total of more than 700 French and EU nationals back to their families, as part of our global repatriation programme which has helped repatriate thousands of French and EU nationals from 82 countries,” said Yasaman Milleret, regional marketing and communication manager, Air France KLM, Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan:

“These repatriation flights were undertaken in challenging circumstances and we thank all the UAE government and Dubai Airport teams – and the Air France crew and staff – for making these flights possible,” she added.

Air France is also looking forward to restarting flight operations between France and the UAE, once travel restrictions are lifted.

Global repatriation

According to Milleret, since March 14, Air France and Transavia Airlines C.V., a Dutch low-cost airline and part of the Air France–KLM group, have operated more than 1,800 flights from 132 airports in 82 countries, for the repatriation of more than 270,000 passengers, including 150,000 French nationals

“The global health crisis caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in the largest global repatriation operation ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of travellers wanted to return home as quickly as possible, presenting an unprecedented operational challenge in the face of numerous border and airspace closures,” she noted.

“Air France has worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Secretary for Transport to identify and prioritize needs in the various countries, in conjunction with the embassies and Air France delegations around the world,” Milleret continued.

She also noted the repatriation operations are now coming to an end in most regions, with the exception of certain areas such as North Africa, where demand remains high, despite more than 200 flights already operated.

Air France’s activity is now focused on operating a minimum flight schedule, equivalent to around five per cent of the capacity usually available. Air France is also actively involved in the airlift between China and France for the transport of masks and medical equipment.