The Ural Airlines flight which was due in today to repatriate the island’s Russian tourists was forced to return to Russia.
After leaving Zhukovsky airport at 11:00, ten hours after its original flight time, it was forced to return as several countries including Ireland, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg closed their airspace to all Russian aircraft.
The tourists, who have been left stranded in Madeira, have all returned to different hotels, their future is yet undecided as more and more countries are banning Russian aircraft from their airspace.
Eduardo Jesus, the Regional Secretary for Tourism and Culture, stated that Madeira was “surprised” by the “impossibility of the repatriation flight being allowed through European airspace. However, as already mentioned several countries, including Portugal simultaneously shut their airspace to all Russian aircraft.
The tourism secretary went on to say that the Madeiran government will offer the same support that has already been offered to Ukrainian citizens residing in Madeira, and that those Russians stranded here will be looked after until they can return to their home country. He went on to say that “We are monitoring the situation together with the operator and the local DMC. Madeira will naturally do everything in its power to welcome these people and to create the best conditions for their return. That is our mission as a tourist destination and this is how we treat anyone regardless of their country of origin.” However, he did add that the Regional Government has admitted that the Russian tourists will be ‘looked after’ until at least tomorrow!
With the Russian Embassy ignoring all communications, it is hoped that the stranded tourists can be ‘flown’ to another country where they can meet a connecting flight which will allow them to return to Russia.
info at madeira-weekly.com