Worldwide airlift

Germany flies all holidaymakers home

Condor and other airlines will fly German holidaymakers home.
Condor and other airlines will fly German holidaymakers home.

Tens of thousands of German holidaymakers are being flown home in a worldwide 'airlift' after the foreign ministry issued a global travel warning as countries around the world close their borders.

The foreign ministry today (March 17) issued a worldwide travel warning to prevent Germans from travelling to countries where they might be stranded. In parallel, it launched a massive repatriation programme in cooperation with the German tourism industry and airlines. Foreign minister Heiko Maas pledged up to €50 million to finance the 'airlift' flights.

Stranded holidaymakers in Egypt, Morocco, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and the Maldives are top of the priority list as scheduled flights from those countries have already been banned. There are about 4,000 – 5,000 German tourists in Morocco alone.

The German Travel Industry Association (DRV), which is coordinating the repatriation programme with the foreign ministry, airlines and tour operators, also named Cyprus as another destination that is particularly affected at present.

Over the last few days German airlines have already started to fly empty to various destinations in order to fly holidaymakers home. Lufthansa planned to operate about 15 charter flights by Wednesday (March 18) to fly about 3,000 to 4,000 Germans home from the Caribbean (Punta Cana and Barbados) and the Canary Islands (Tenerife).

Condor aims to fly as many holidaymakers as possible back on its scheduled flights, especially from the Canary Islands, Egypt, Majorca, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and plans additional charter flights for tour operators from the Dominican Republic, Morocco and Egypt.

Similarly, TUIfly cancelled all outbound tickets with effect from Sunday (March 15), is flying empty to Spain and Madeira, and aims to transport all its passengers currently on holiday there back to Germany by March 27. Sun Express plans to fly all the package holidaymakers of its tour operator clients who are currently in Turkey back to Germany by March 20.