The company had an empty plane in the area due to a technical defect. The plane was initially supposed to leave for Schiphol empty, but then first headed to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to transport 278 Ukrainians.
KLM has received a report from its employee of Ukrainian origin. “She knew that a lot of people were stranded in the Dominican Republic,” her spokesperson said.
In Schiphol, passengers were given further assistance by the IND to continue their journey home, according to KLM. The majority of the group will travel to Poland in the coming days. A spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service said on Sunday, “Those who are staying here can go to the reception center in Eddie.” Ukrainians are allowed to stay in the Netherlands on the basis of European rules.
Pien Metz, a follower at KLM, told De Telegraaf it was a “loading” trip. She was part of a reserve crew of three pilots and eight cabin crew who had been called a few days before to return the plane to Amsterdam. The plane departed Friday evening local time in the Dominican Republic and landed at Schiphol airport on Saturday afternoon.
It was a special repatriation, because these passengers cannot go home. Some were apathetic, others very tired and sad after days of stress. The tales faded after sleep, when it became light in the morning. “Tensions eased and tears fell,” said Metz, who once made a similar trip from Egypt.
Several passengers needed to speak to cabin crew on Saturday night. There were families who left their young children with their grandparents for the holidays, but now they are in a besieged city. These parents were very worried. A number of them had food and toilet paper with them, for an uncertain continuation of the journey,” Metz says.
Most passengers would like to go home in Ukraine, or as close to the border as possible. A well-rounded English-speaking passenger acted as an interpreter on board and, together with the chief official, informed passengers of the embassy in the Netherlands and public transport in Europe. “You know that none of your passengers can go home and that they are all going to have a very difficult time. The stories, movies, photos and harrowing tears of our guests made us realize once again that sometimes we are so close to the news of the world. Customers often thank us after the flight, and now we are a hands-on hug. Our guests were grateful to be so close to their homes,” says Metz. Before the flight, all travelers were tested for Corona.
The spokeswoman said that the costs of the flight on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. More airlines took action this week. For example, a price fighter jet Wizz Air offered free seats to Ukrainian refugees at Eindhoven airport earlier this week.
The Dominican Tourism Ministry reported earlier this week that about 1,900 Ukrainians on the Caribbean island will not be able to return to their homeland. The government has allowed tourists to stay in their hotels until they are assured of their return home.
Return flights will also have to be arranged for another 15,000 stranded Russian tourists. The Dominican government is consulting with Russian tour operators on this subject. Taking these tourists is complicated, due to the closure of Canadian, American and European airspace to all aircraft from Russia.
The identities of the stranded Ukrainian tourists were checked by the local embassy and the passenger list before check-in.
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