SriLankan Airlines crew
SriLankan Airlines operates a 'mercy flight' to bring back students from the locked down Wuhan city of China. Image Credit:

Dubai: SriLankan Airlines expresses its gratitude to courageous and loyal crew and staff members who volunteered to operate ‘mercy flight’ to bring back students from Coronavirus epicentre Wuhan, China on February 1.

The mission of mercy was carried out on the instruction of President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Flight UL1423 landed at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport shortly after dawn following its extremely long turnaround flight from Colombo to Wuhan and back. Students were handed over to the care of health authorities and other relevant institutions, including the armed forces, for necessary procedures, according to an airline statement issued on Tuesday.

Ashok Pathirage, Chairman, SriLankan Airlines, stated: “Our nation has always relied on our National Carrier during times of crisis, be it a tsunami or a terror attack, and we are proud to say that we will always do our duty no matter what the challenges that we will face.”

“The Board of Directors and indeed every employee of SriLankan Airlines are extremely proud of the selfless efforts of our 16 crew members who volunteered to fly into Wuhan, which is currently under a lockdown due to the deadly Coronavirus pandemic. Our pilots and cabin staff have gone far beyond the call of duty to ensure that the National Carrier has once again fulfilled its duty to our nation,” said Mr. Pathirage.

“Our thanks also to all of our support staff including the Ground Handling staff who handled the passengers of this flight in Mattala and the passengers and cargo of all flights from China on a daily basis at Bandaranaike International Airport, commercial team, flight operations, inflight Service, Medical Centre, Canton station staff, and Engineering,” said Pathirage.

The National Carrier worked in close cooperation with the Sri Lanka Air Force which sent its Bio Medical Team to Mattala and provided Sri Lankan with all the equipment needed to make this mission a success.

SriLankan Airlines
Crew members of the Sri Lankan Airlines who volunteered to operate flight to Wuhan