Mon, December 01, 2008
China > China & World > Thailand political unrest

Stranded Chinese tourists safely return to Shanghai from Thailand

2008-11-30 01:45:50 GMT2008-11-30 09:45:50 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Huang Zhong(2nd,L) , a Chinese civilian back from Thailand, arrives at the Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, on Nov. 30, 2008. The first charter plane from Air China Airlines boarded passengers who were stranded in Thailand, back to Beijing at 5:40 AM on Sunday. (Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)

A China Eastern Airbus-300 arrives at the Utapao Airport near Pattaya, about 150 km east of Bangkok, capital of Thailand, Nov. 29, 2008. Chinese aviation authorities were sending 5 planes on Saturday to Thailand to bring home the remaining stranded Chinese tourists after the closure of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. (Xinhua Photo)

Passengers walk out from the terminal of the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, east China, on Nov. 30, 2008. (Xinhua/Fan Jun)

Zhou Ti(R) hugs her father at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, east China, on Nov. 30, 2008. (Xinhua/Fan Jun)

Chinese tourists, once stranded after the closure of airports in Bangkok, arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, in Shanghai, on Nov. 29, 2008. The 46 tourists returned to Shanghai on Saturday aboard a Dragonair flight. They had to drive to Phuket island, more than 1,000 km south of Bangkok, to be flown to Hong Kong and then the Chinese mainland.(Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The first Chinese flight bringing home stranded Chinese tourists after the closure of Thailand's main international airport in Bangkok, arrived at eastern Shanghai before dawn on Sunday.

Aboard the China Eastern MU Flight 548 were 246 of less than 3,000 Chinese tourists believed being trapped in Thailand. The plane which left the Shanghai Pudong International Airport at noon Saturday, returned to the airport at 2:15 on Sunday.

Twenty-eight tourists aboard will fly to Kunming, the provincial capital of southern Yunnan Province, from Shanghai.

Chinese aviation authorities sent planes to Thailand to bring home the remaining stranded Chinese tourists after the closure of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Zhou, a father who was expecting his stranded daughter to arrive on Sunday, rushed to the Pudong airport at 1:00 on Sunday. His daughter had an internship with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in the turmoil country after anti-government protesters laid siege to Thailand's Suvarnabhumi International Airport earlier last week.

"My family were deeply concerned about my daughter's safety after learning the Thailand airport was closed. We felt a great relief that she could take the charter flight and finally got back safe," said Zhou.

Gao, a manager of a Shanghai food company who went to Thailand for market research and was scheduled to be back to Shanghai on Wednesday, said he was "very happy to be back home" and was deeply impressed that the Chinese government could immediately organize charter flights in time of stress.

A source with the China Eastern said the plane returned people with tickets on the airline, 26 members of the operating crew as well as other Chinese citizens if seats were available.

At 3:17 a.m., China Southern Airline's Boeing 777 landed at Southern Guangzhou Baiyun International airport, bringing another 351 stranded Chinese tourists home.

The aircraft took off at 1:07 a.m. on Sunday morning. It was supposed to return earlier, but was delayed due to disorder at the airport in Thailand.

Over 10,000 passengers flooded into the airport since the morning, causing heavy traffic jam on ways from Bangkok towards the airport and disordered situation.

Two and a half hours later, another 315 Chinese tourists flew back home as scheduled by Air China Flights CA072. The plan landed at Beijing International Airport at 5:40 a.m..

Another 219 tourists by a Boeing 767 of Shanghai Airlines arrived at Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 6:40 a.m.

China has arranged seven charter flights to retrieve stranded Chinese tourists in Thailand as of Saturday.

Sources said Air China, Southern Airline, and Shanghai Airlines would send more aircrafts to Thailand on Sunday, respectively.

Thousands of foreigners became stranded in Bangkok after anti-government protesters in Thailand laid siege to the country's main international airport earlier this week.

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