Nepal | June 04, 2020

Chinese students fleeing virus-hit US pay $20,000 for seats on private jets

Reuters
Share Now:

BEIJING/MONTREAL: As the coronavirus spreads across the United States, Chinese students from wealthy families are persuading their parents to pay tens of thousands of dollars for seats on private jets to get home.

The alternative, in a world of locked borders and grounded commercial planes, is 60-hour flights with multiple transit hops over the Pacific.

Jeff Gong, a lawyer in Shanghai, asked his daughter, a high school student in Wisconsin, if she wanted 180,000 yuan ($25,460) as pocket money or a ticket on a private flight home.

“My daughter begged me to get her back home … She said ‘No papa, I don’t want the money, I want to go home’,” he told Reuters.

US-based Chinese students are scrambling to get home as US infections top 50,000 while new cases in China – where the flu-like virus emerged in humans late last year – have fallen to zero.

The sense of urgency is further heightened by the dramatic cutback in flight capacity. On Tuesday, 3,102 out of 3,800 planned commercial flights to and from China were cancelled, according to aviation data provider VariFlight.

“(Education) agents and schools are the ones making contact on behalf of the Chinese families looking to group together to arrange a private charter, given the lack of airline flights,” said Annelies Garcia, commercial director for Private Fly, a global booking service for charter flights.

But even the window for chartered flights is closing fast, 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.

US-based Air Charter Service can fly passengers from Los Angeles to Shanghai on a 14-seat Bombardier 6000 for 2.3 million yuan ($325,300), or about $23,000 for a spot.

“We have arranged a number of private jets travelling from the US to China repatriating Chinese nationals with routes including New York and Boston to Shanghai, San Jose to Hong Kong and Los Angeles to Guangzhou,” said Glenn Phillips, a PR and advertising manager at Air Charter Service.

“The prices range greatly depending on the positioning of the aircraft on the dates and time requested, and the exact route.”

But even the well-heeled have to wrestle with logistics.

Air charter providers have been notified informally that private jets registered in China are not allowed to land in the United States, and those registered in the United States cannot land in China, two sources at such firms told Reuters.

“The Chinese government is reluctant to let people abroad to come back, though they cannot make it too obvious. We have received a lot of verbal guidance to restrict chartered flights these days and the door is closing rapidly,” one of them said.

Jet operators circumvent the restrictions by either getting planes from other countries to run the U.S.-China routes or arranging transfers in Tokyo, they said.

“Operators of US or Chinese-registered aircraft are not permitted to land in each other’s countries at the moment, so for US-China route inquiries, we are working with operators of long-range jets based elsewhere,” said Private Fly’s Garcia.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

($1 = 7.0704 Chinese yuan renminbi)


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepali Congress registers statute amendment bill 

Kathmandu, June 2 The main opposition Nepali Congress today registered a private constitution amendment bill at the Parliament Secretariat seeking to change the constitution's provisions related to citizenship, language, provincial boundaries and formation of a boundary commission. Eight Nepal Read More...

Dhangadi  quarantine

Quarantines in Sudurpaschim bursting at seams 

Dhangadhi, June 2  With the increasing number of returnees from India, the quarantine facilities in Sudupaschim Province are almost packed. The number of migrant workers returning home from India is increasing every day. According to Kailali District Administration Office, around 5,000 Read More...

PCR tests of all quarantined persons fraught with problems 

Kathmandu, June 2  The Ministry of Health and Population said that implementing the Supreme Court’s order to conduct tests for coronavirus on all quarantined persons across the country using polymerase chain reaction method was a daunting task. Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued an order Read More...

Ganyapdhura Dadeldhura

Yet another quarantine death reported, woman passed away in Dadeldhura quarantine Wednesday morning

DADELDHURA: A 28-year-old woman that had been staying in a quarantine facility in Ganyapdhura Rural Municipality-2, passed away on Wednesday morning. The woman along with her family had returned from India via Gauriphanta border point in Dhangadhi, four days ago. The deceased, her husband and Read More...

Seti Zonal Hospital in Dhangadhi of Kailali

Seti Hospital refuses to admit new coronavirus patients; five kept in temple

DHANGADHI: Seti Hospital in Sudurpaschim Province has refused to admit five COVID-19 patients owing to the lack of beds in the isolation ward. The 24-bed isolation ward of the hospital is full and there is no place to keep the newly infected. The hospital sent back five infected persons aged 1 Read More...

Internal Revenue Department

Businesses, general public told to clear tax dues by June 7

KATHMANDU, JUNE 2 The government has ordered businesses and individuals to clear taxes and file returns of the current fiscal year by June 7, although businesses have remained shut for almost two-and-a-half months due to the ongoing lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Publishing a noti Read More...

FNCCI

Not possible, says Nepal Inc

KATHMANDU, JUNE 2 The business community has condemned the government for directing businesses to clear their tax dues by June 7. Pointing out that the country is still under lockdown and businesses have not been able to resume their operation so far, industrialists and businessmen today claim Read More...

IPPs threaten to halt power generation

KATHMANDU, JUNE 2 The Independent Power Producers' Association, Nepal (IPPAN) has warned the government that it will stop generating electricity if the latter does not address the genuine concerns raised by the private developers. Issuing a statement today, IPPAN has said that the government h Read More...