Covid-19: Chinese student pay 21,000 pounds for a seat in private jet to escape coronavirus-hit US
Beijing : Chinese students are paying tens of thousands of pounds to grab a seat on private jets to make an escape from coronavirus hit the US, said a report.
Amid a rising number of deaths and positive cases of Covid-19 in America, the World Health Organization has warned that the US may become new epicentre of the global coronavirus pandemic. Over 780 people have died in America so far.
At a time when the world is sealing its borders and grounding flight operations, the ones who can are fleeing the country in anticipation of a nationwide lockdown that would further restrict movement in and out of the US.
Instead of opting for a 60-hour long journey with transit at several regions, the Chinese students are believed to be opting for private jet options to ensure a safe return to home.
Annelies Garcia, commercial director for Private Fly, a global booking service for charter flights, told news agency Reuters that education agents and American schools were typically "making contact on behalf of the Chinese families looking to group together to arrange a private charter, given the lack of airline flights."
In the first two months of the year, there was a noticeable spike in the private jet flights from China to the US and now the situation has taken a flip as the pandemic takes root in the West while Asia slowly returns to normality.
Earlier this month, Hong Kong international airport reported one of its busiest days on record for private jet activity, as wealthy residents and Chinese visitors rushed back to the region.
Jeff Gong, a lawyer in Shanghai, told Reuters that his daughter, a high school student in Wisconsin, had "begged" him to fly her home after he asked whether she wanted 180,000 yuan (£21,440) as pocket money or a one-way ticket on a private flight.
"My daughter begged me to get her back home ... She said ‘No papa, I don’t want the money, I want to go home’," Gong told the news agency.
The bigger trouble is that the window to opt for a private jet is going to close down soon. Beijing has banned all chartered flights from overseas and Shanghai is expected to follow suit soon. Hong Kong and Macau have meanwhile blocked transit flights.
According to the news report in Reuters, sources have claimed that the air charter providers have been notified informally that private jets registered in the US are not allowed to land in China.