UK Government Strikes Deal With Airlines To Bring 'Tens Of Thousands' Of Stranded Brits Home
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the government is 'working around the clock' to help stranded Brits abroad, having struck a £75 million ($93m) deal with airlines to help 'tens of thousands' get back to the UK.
With tens of thousands of Brits stuck abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic - including 8,500 in Morocco and 5,000 Cyprus - Raab explained the government has struck a 'little or no cost' deal with airlines to get people home, starting this week.
In today's government coronavirus briefing, Raab said: "We appreciate that an unprecedented number of UK travellers have been trying to get home.
"Hundreds of thousands have already done so, but many travellers haven't managed to get home.
"We appreciate the difficult predicament that they find themselves in.
"I want to assure them that this government, their government, is working around the clock to support, advise and help British travellers get home."
There will be a dedicated travel management company, with £75 million investment to support those flights.
The elderly and people with medical needs will be prioritised.
Raab added: "Don't wait, don't risk getting stranded. The airlines are there to help you. Book your flights soon."
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He advised people to check the social media channels for the foreign embassy of the country they are in, where they will be directed to available flights.
A press release published today said Virgin, easyJet, Jet2 and Titan Airways have already signed a 'memorandum of understanding negotiated by the Foreign Secretary and Transport Secretary', with British Airways saying it will work with the government to get people home. Other airlines are also expected to join the initiative.
Where commercial routes do not exist, the government will provide up to £75 million financial support to enable special charter flights, which will be operated by the aforementioned airlines.
In the release, Raab said: "This is a worrying time for many British citizens travelling abroad. We've already worked with airlines and governments to enable hundreds of thousands to return home on commercial flights, and we will keep as many of those options open as possible.
"Where commercial flights are not possible, we will build on the earlier charter flights we organised back from China, Japan, Cuba, Ghana and Peru.
"The arrangements agreed today will provide a clearer basis to organise special charter flights where Britons find themselves stranded. Our priority will always be the most vulnerable."
Find out more via the government website here.
The government has also announced there have been 180 new deaths, taking the UK death toll to 1,408. At the time of writing, there are 22,141 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
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Featured Image Credit: BBC