ECONOMYNEXT – SriLankan Airlines said a rescue flight from Wuhan, China staffed by a 16 volunteer crew carrying students stranded in the locked down city, had landed at Mattala airport Saturday.
The students were handed over to the care of health authorities and Sri Lanka Air Force had sent its bio medical team to Mattala. The students are to be quarantined at a military base, before being released to their families.
Flight UL1423 to Wuhan and back had been staffed by a 16-member crew who had volunteered.
“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…,” SriLankan Chairman Ashok Pathiragae said in a statement.
SriLankan Airlines flies to several cities in China and has a station in Canton.
“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.”
The students were taken out on an order of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and co-ordinated by the foreign ministry.
Sri Lanka is one of a handful of countries that had been cleared by China to fly rescue flights to Wuhan.
The US, UK, Japan and Korea had also flown out their citizens. Several other countries are awaiting permission to fly to Wuhan. (Colombo/Feb01/2020)