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First flight bringing Canadians home departs Peru

Last Updated Mar 25, 2020 at 12:05 am EDT

The Air Canada is seen on an aircraft at a hangar at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont., February 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Global Affairs Canada says the first in at least three Air Canada flights to bring Canadians home from Peru departed Lima today, with others planned for later this week.

The plane carrying over 400 Canadians would be landing just after 1 a.m. in Toronto.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says two more Air Canada flights will also be bringing home Canadians in Morocco in the coming days.

Trudeau says an Air Canada flight to Spain is also confirmed, while Air Transat has been cleared for two flights to Honduras and one each to Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala.

It says it is prioritizing its assistance to airlines in locations where there is greatest need, factoring in lack of local air service or local restrictions on travel.

The government says in the past week WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing have brought home tens of thousands of Canadians from around the world, with more flights on the way.

The prime minister is urging all Canadians abroad to return home by commercial means while options are still available, and to register with the government so they can receive proper updates.

To date, 93 loans have been approved through the Emergency Loan Program, totalling $170,000, with 80 loan applications pending.

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