Government's £75m deal to help bring home stranded British travellers

British travellers stranded abroad are to get extra help from the Government after it was announced today that £75m is to be made available to pay for extra flights.

By Richard Hunt
Monday, 30th March 2020, 7:35 pm
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 8:08 pm
Dominic Raab (centre) with Sir Patrick Vallance (left) and Professor Yvonne Doyle
Dominic Raab (centre) with Sir Patrick Vallance (left) and Professor Yvonne Doyle

In a Downing Street press conference announcement this afternoon, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed that the UK Government will be working with airlines such as Virgin, Jet2, BA and Titan to bring British nationals home in cases when there were no commercial flights are available.

The UK has designated £75m to fund those flights so that airlines won't carry the cost and passengers will be able to afford the flights home.

The Government has faced criticism that it wasn't doing as much for its stranded nationals as other European nations, with one family in New Zealand claiming they had been quoted £14,000 for flight back to Britain.

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Mr Raab said: "I can today announce a new arrangement between the Government and airlines to fly home tens of thousands of stranded British travellers, when commercial flights are no longer possible.

“Partner airlines include British Airways, Virgin, easyJet, Jet2 and Titan and this list can be expanded.

“Under the arrangements we are putting in place we will target flights from a range of priority countries, starting this week.”

The most vulnerable people will be prioritised, including the elderly, those with health concerns and the countries with large numbers of people trying to get home.

Mr Raab said airlines would be responsible for getting passengers home where commercial routes were still an option."

Mr Raab also urged those still abroad not to waste further time getting home, while commercial flight remained available..

He said: "That means offering alternative flights at little to no cost where routes have been cancelled, and it means allowing passengers to change tickets - including between carriers.

“So for those still in countries where commercial options are still available, don’t wait.

"Don’t run a risk of getting stranded."

He was flanked by Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser to the Government, and Professor Yvonne Doyle, director of health protection for Public Health England.

Sir Patrick said the total number of people in the UK who have died from Covid-19 now stands at 1,408.