As Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Inter on May 26, our efforts since mid-March have led to the return of a very large number of French travelers from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria in an extraordinary context – one that is completely unprecedented in terms of the border closings, airport shutdowns and the halt to air and other traffic decided by those countries as a result of the pandemic. We have worked tirelessly to carry out these operations in coordination with the authorities of those countries as well as airlines and maritime companies, and thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our embassies and consulates.
In Morocco, more than 30,000 French citizens were able to return home aboard 200 flights. 2,400 camper-van travelers have been able to return via three ferries from Tanger-Med and Ceuta since March 13.
In Algeria, 46 flights were authorized to depart after air links were cut off, enabling more than 8,000 people to return to France since March 17.
In Tunisia, more than 18,000 French citizens were able to fly home aboard 105 flights, while 460 people returned to France via ferry.
We remain committed to finding a solution for those fellow citizens, notably in Morocco, who have been expressing a desire to return to France for a few weeks now. We have therefore stepped up our efforts to help these French nationals who may find themselves in challenging situations.
In Algeria, we have been working with Air France to triple the number of flights offered by the airline from Algiers, i.e. three flights per day from May 27, in addition to its weekly flight from Oran. In close cooperation with the French and Algerian authorities, ASL Airlines France is providing special repatriation flights from Algiers to Paris on May 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31. In collaboration with the Algerian authorities, we are working on providing other connections, notably to provincial cities in France. A Corsica Linea large capacity ferry (with capacity for more than 1,000 passengers and several hundred vehicles) is scheduled to make a crossing between Algiers and Marseille on June 1. Other ferry crossings are planned for the first half of June.
In Morocco, a dozen ferry crossings will take place over the next two weeks. This evening, May 26, a ferry will depart for Sète with 462 French citizens on board; another will depart tomorrow for Marseille with 509 French passengers. Crossings are planned next week for Malaga, Sète and Marseille. The crossings that terminate in Malaga will make it possible - with the authorization of the Spanish authorities, for motor homes in particular if they stay on the highway - to return to France without the need to quarantine. In collaboration with the Moroccan authorities, we are also working toward increasing the number of flights from Morocco, with eight flights per week at the moment, compared to two per week at the beginning of April.
In Tunisia, there is a weekly flight between Tunis and Paris, and we are working with the local authorities toward opening up additional flights. In addition, a ferry crossing between Tunis and Marseille is scheduled for June 3. We are working in cooperation with the operators and local authorities toward providing other crossings in the first half of June.
Therefore, over the next two weeks, more than 15,000 people will be able to return to France from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, with the support of these countries’ authorities, whom we would like to thank. Thereafter, citizens will continue to be able to return to France by plane or ferry.