Chinese students from influential families are reportedly paying tens of thousands of dollars to reserve seats on private jets to return to their home country as the Coronavirus pandemic has acutely hit the US. The chartered planes are conducting 60-hour flights with multiple transits over the pacific, as per reports.
According to reports, a prominent lawyer in Sanghai, encouraged his daughter, a high school student in Wisconsin, to take a flight ticket costing over 180,000 yuan ($25,460) to return home. Chinese students based in the US are scrambling to get home as Coronavirus infections spiked in the US recording over 55,081 cases. China, meanwhile, has no new mainland cases as the disease has been controlled due to effective containment measures.
The prices of flight have further soared due to the dramatic cutback in flight capacity as most international flights have been suspended between the US and China as per the reports. As of March 25, 3,102 out of 3,800 planned commercial flights to and from China were cancelled, according to aviation data provider. This struck panic among the Chinese nationals who resort to pay heavy airfares in order to get home. The chartered planes were, however, allowed to repatriate Chinese nationals back to their country from the US.
The window for chartered flights was also reportedly shrinking, further elevating prices. Beijing has banned all chartered flights from overseas and Shanghai is expected to follow suit soon. Hong Kong and Macau have blocked transit flights, and therefore, demand spiked for the limited flights.
Glenn Phillips, a PR, and advertising manager at Air Charter Service were quoted saying by a media agency that a number of private jets travelling from the U.S. to China were arranged repatriating Chinese nationals with routes including New York and Boston to Shanghai, San Jose to Hong Kong and Los Angeles to Guangzhou. He added saying that the prices ranged greatly depending on the positioning of the aircraft on the dates and time requested, and the exact route, as per the agency report.
(with inputs from agencies)