Interesting repatriation flights

Map of interesting repatriation flights

Interesting repatriation flights have been happening due to this unprecedented crisis. Airlines and governments are working together to organise flights and bring their citizens back home. Here is a list of some interesting flights which have taken place recently.

Lufthansa lands in New Zealand

As surprising as it sounds, Lufthansa flew all the way from Germany with a stop in Tokyo-Haneda to New Zealand to repatriate its citizens.

Lufthansa at Auckland
Lufthansa arrived at Auckland for the first time using their B747-400. Photo: Lufthansa

The aircraft used was B747-400 registered as D-ABVY. Interestingly this was the first Lufthansa aircraft to land in New Zealand.

The aircraft departed Frankfurt to Auckland with a fuel stop in Tokyo-Haneda and returned back the same way with German citizens.

LOT Polish Airlines to Sydney

LOT, the national carrier of Poland operated its flight for the first time in 40 years to Sydney. The aircraft used was a B787-9 registered as SP-LSA and flew from Warsaw to Sydney with a couple of stops in Bangkok and Singapore.

The flight carried Australian citizens to Sydney and brought back Polish citizens stuck in Australia. It has been carrying out repatriation flights through an operation called #LOTdoDomu which means flight to home.

Swiss to Santiago,Chile

Swiss operated its longest non-stop flight on 27th of March to Santiago, Chile. It departed early in the morning as LX8900 to Santiago to bring swiss travellers home.

Swiss B777-300ER at Santiago
Swiss operated its longest non-stop flight to Santiago to repatriate Europeans. Photo: Swiss

The aircraft used was a B777-300ER registered as HB-JNJ. This aircraft was the last B777-300ER to be delivered to Swiss.

The aircraft arrived in Zurich after a 10 hour flight from Santiago, Chile carrying 159 Swiss citizens onboard along with 102 passengers from other countries.

Austrian Airlines to Australia

Austrian Airlines set the record for the longest flight is had operated by flying the inbound journey to Sydney non-stop. The 18 hour flight was completed using a B777-200ER registered as OE-LPD in special ‘Spirit of Austria livery’. This was possible as the inbound flight to Sydney had no passengers and had only crew.

Austrian Airlines B777-200ER at Sydney
Austrian Airlines operated a non-stop flight from Vienna to Sydney with a flight time of 18 hours. Photo: Austrian Airlines

After picking up stranded Austrians in Sydney, the flight would make a stop at Penang where another crew takes over along with medical equipment and return to Vienna.

Austrian Airlines has also been operating cargo flights using its passenger aircrafts to bring medical supply from China

Condor flies to Perth

Condor is a German charter and holiday airline. Along with fellow airline Lufthansa they are being part of Germany’s biggest repatriation operation. They had repatriated around 800 passengers stuck in Perth who were stranded in the cruise ship Artania. The airline used its B767-300ER for these flights.

Condor will make a stop in Phuket en-route Frankfurt as it has set up a crew base in Phuket to make operations more efficient. They have also expanded repatriation flights to other Australian cities in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

EL AL B787 to Melbourne

Another interesting repatriation flight operated was EL AL‘s direct flight from Tel-Aviv to Melbourne to bring back Israelis stuck in the country. This is the airline’s second flight to Australia after initially operating to Perth.

The route was flown using a B787-9 registered as 4X-EDK and departed Tel-Aviv as EY085 and arrived in Melbourne after a 16 hour flight. The return flight was operated as EY086 and this flight operated by EL AL connecting Tel Aviv and Melbourne set the record for being EL AL’s longest flight in history.

EL AL B787-9 after completing its flight from Melbourne
EL AL flew to Melbourne using a B787-9. Photo: EL AL

SAS from Copenhagen to Lima

SAS operated a non-stop flight from Copenhagen to Lima to repatriate Scandinavian citizens. The flight was operated using its latest A350-900 registered as SE-RSB named ‘Hagbard Viking’.

The airline operated this route non-stop making this the longest flight operated by the airline clocking over 15 hours flight time. Onboard were 290 Scandinavian citizens who were returning home.

Air New Zealand operates to Germany

Air New Zealand is operating charter flights on behalf of the German government. It is set to operate around 25 flights repatriating 13,000 Germans.

This is the first charter flight being operated from Auckland to Frankfurt via Vancouver. The aircraft used is a B777-300ER registered as ZK-OKO.

Wizz Air to USA and Canada

Wizz Air is a low cost airline based in Europe with its headquarters in Budapest, Hungary. It had recently used a couple of its A321-271NX aircraft registered as HA-LVC and HA-LVE on repatriation flights to US. One aircraft flew from Budapest to New York via Reykjavik and headed to Los Angeles later. The return flight was also operated along the same route.

The second flight originated from Budapest to Toronto via Reykjavik and headed to Miami and Chicago before flying to Toronto and back to Budapest via Reykjavik.

Wizz Air operated tow A321-271NX to the US
Wizz Air performed an interesting repatriation flight by flying to US and Canada. Photo: Wizz Air

Conclusion

We have been seeing some very interesting repatriation flights taking place. On a normal day you wouldn’t image an Austrian Airlines flying directly to Sydney or Wizz Air flying to the US with their narrow bodied aircraft. The past month has had airlines flying to destinations and using aircrafts they wouldn’t normally use on those routes. Though there are many more noticeable ones we have picked the most interesting ones for you. There are many more interesting repatriation flights to come.

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