Nearly 300 Ticos return to Costa Rica in repatriation flight from Spain
Nearly 300 Costa Ricans from 18 different countries returned to their homeland Tuesday afternoon.
A charter flight from Madrid, Spain arrived at Juan Santamaría International Airport near San José in what the Foreign Ministry called among its “most challenging tasks” since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The majority of the 290 passengers were Costa Rican students, foreign residents and international workers who had been stuck across Europe and elsewhere due to the COVID-19 crisis. The flight also carried several European diplomats who have been assigned to work in Costa Rica.
“I thank the Spanish authorities, my colleagues in other countries and Iberia for their willingness to make this long-awaited return a reality,” said Ana Helena Chacón, Costa Rica’s ambassador to Spain, in a statement.
Upon arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport, all were tested for the coronavirus and issued a mandatory 14-day home quarantine order.
The Foreign Ministry says it has helped repatriate 2,085 Costa Ricans since the coronavirus crisis began.
Tuesday’s flight brought Ticos home from Spain, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Switzerland, England, Ireland, France, India, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands.
The Iberia flight will operate Wednesday as a repatriation flight back to Spain. It has a scheduled departure time of 12:10 p.m.
Aeris, which administers Alajuela’s Juan Santamaría International Airport, says it does not know when Iberia will resume regular scheduled service to Costa Rica.
Most airlines have suspended service to Costa Rica since late March. While Costa Rica has not closed airports or grounded flights, it has banned arriving tourists until at least June 16.
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