Chinese tourists who have been stuck at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow since Saturday after a local airline went bankrupt are finally returning home, according to the Chinese embassy in Russia.
Jiang Wei, counselor in the consular office of the embassy, said the Russian Foreign Ministry and tourism authority were contacted when the incident happened, and the Russian government arranged to send the Chinese tourists back home as soon as possible.
About 290 Chinese tourists have been flown home so far, the embassy said.
Tens of thousands of passengers who planned flights with VIM-AVIA were stranded during the weekend after the carrier, Russia's 10th largest, on Tuesday announced it was filing for bankruptcy.
The private company has canceled dozens of flights over the last few days, including all of its charter flights.
Overall, about 200,000 passengers were expected to be affected, and 43,000 passengers are believed to be stranded, including 500 Chinese tourists in Russia and more than 300 in Belgium.
No sleep for 30 hours
A tourist surnamed Li told China Central Television that she and her fellow passengers hadn't slept for almost 30 hours.
"We couldn't check into a hotel near the airport because our durations of stay expired last night, so we have to stay in the airport and wait for news," she said.
Jiang said the embassy had resolved the duration of stay issue with Russian Foreign Ministry.
"We have started to send Chinese tourists who were trapped in Russia back to China, group by group, and those who are waiting for flights are able to live in a hotel as the Russian government has given them extra time," she said.
Besides Moscow, about 360 Chinese tourists have been stranded in the airport in Liege, Belgium.
Christian Delcourt, the airport spokesman, said those tourists were due to take a flight on Monday morning.
"About 180 tourists from China have already checked into hotels, but half of them are still waiting in the airport," he said.