Chartered planes take off to evacuate Chinese from Libya

13:15, February 26, 2011      

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An airplane of China Eastern Airline waits to take off at Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, east China, Feb. 26, 2011. The plane was prepared to evacuate Chinese civilians from riot-torn Libya. (Xinhua/Yang Xiali)

Two China Eastern Airlines planes took off from Shanghai Saturday morning to pick up Chinese nationals evacuated from the unrest-hit Libya.

The first plane, MU267, took off at 9:20 a.m. from Shanghai Pudong International Airport and would come back with Chinese nationals in about 28 hours, said a spokesman with the company.

Another aircraft, MU265, departed around 9:40 a.m. from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and would return to Shanghai Sunday afternoon, he added.

The airline would send more chartered flights in the coming days to evacuate Chinese from the Mediterranean island nation, the spokesman said.

So far, the Chinese government has sent two chartered flights to evacuate Chinese nationals from Libya, carrying task groups and emergency relief materials.

About 12,000 Chinese nationals had been evacuated from Libya, Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao said Friday. The number is likely to increase as more flights and other modes of transport were sent to expand evacuation efforts.

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