Canada looking to fly home citizens stranded in Morocco, Peru, Spain

Mar 21 2020, 8:35 am

Canada is arranging commercial flights to bring home residents stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday.

The first flight is leaving Morocco this weekend, a country where air traffic has been restricted. The Canadian government had to get permission to land in the country and take its citizens home.

Flights to collect Canadians in Spain and Peru are next on the list, Trudeau said.

Many Canadians have become stranded as countries around the world tighten their borders and airlines cancel their flights during the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

These flights are different from repatriation flights, because Canadians will have to pay for their seats. By contrast, true repatriation flights like the one that picked up Canadians stranded in locked-down Wuhan are chartered using government funds.

Trudeau said they’re working with airline companies to cover any extra costs during this exceptional time, but the majority of regular costs will be collected from passengers by the airline.

Loans of $5,000 are available to help Canadians pay for emergency travel home or to pay for necessities in the country where they’re stuck.