Poles stranded abroad after Poland closed its border will be able to return home thanks to cooperation between the Polish government and the national carrier LOT, with the government announcing it will partly fund the cost of the flights.
Poland’s emergency measures to combat coronavirus have led to concern among Poles stranded abroad, which has prompted the government to activate an initiative to help Poles and those domiciled in Poland to return home.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Poland was closing its borders to the virus but wants to help its citizens to be able to return home. The program will prioritize those destinations from which road transport is difficult, such as the United States, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Malta, and Cyprus.
According to Poland’s national air carrier, LOT, Poles abroad have three ways of returning home.
First, Poles can get on board scheduled charter flights which will still all be allowed to land in Poland.
Second, they can book via the internet the special charter flights being organized by LOT. These are already scheduled from London, Chicago, New York, Toronto, Colombo, Larnaca, and Tbilisi. LOT has given assurances that the number of destinations covered by these flights will be increased.
The third way to return home will be for Poles to request a flight home from other destinations on a special web page. LOT will attempt to accommodate those needs by organizing additional flights or assisting with other arrangements.
According to reports, so far more than 20,000 people registered on this page.
Those returning home will have to cover part of the cost of the flight. In Europe, that contribution will be between $100 and $200; for long-distance flights the contribution will range from $400 to $600. The rest of the costs will be shouldered by the government.