Emirates Airline reunites German girl with family

By: News Desk      Published: 12:58 PM, 8 Apr, 2020
Emirates Airline reunites German girl with family

A seven-year old German girl was reunited with her parents in Abu Dhabi after she got stuck in her home country for a month due to flight suspension and border closure.

Emirates Airline flew Godiva Gaertke back to the UAE from Frankfurt on a special flight.

"It was incredible to see her after a month. We are so relieved to have back her home. We never want to leave this country," Godiva's mother Viktoria Gaertke told Khaleej Times.

"Everybody was so caring throughout the whole process. We are in love with this country, and to know that the government care about expats as much as their citizens, we have an extra reason to love UAE," said Gaertke, who moved to the Emirates with her husband Allan in 2018.

Emirates Airline has already received necessary approval and is operating special flights to five European cities London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels and Zurich - to repatriate outbound passengers.

Godiva had travelled to Germany to spend her holiday with her grandparents and was supposed to return on March 22. But her travel plans took a different turn when Germany closed its border on March 16 due to the global spread of Covid-19 followed by UAE's decision to suspend all inbound and outbound air travel.

"We were super desperate. I started calling all the helplines as we were sure that there would be an exemption for her."

The mother said they were in touch with the German embassy and the Emirati authorities, who stepped in to help.

Gaertke registered her daughter's case on the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Twajudi service launched to help bring back residents who are stranded abroad due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

The mother said her daughter is "all happy" and in quarantine for two weeks.

"She did not understand why everyone was so excited about her home coming. She used to ask me over phone when she would be able to return. And I would keep calm and tell her that we are working on it. But as soon I hang up, I would break into tears. It is hard to be away from your kid, especially when she is so small," said Gaertke.

German ambassador to the UAE, Peter Fischer thanked the UAE authorities for their kindness.