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Government announces £75 million package to charter special flights to rescue Brits stranded abroad in coronavirus crisis

By Scott Maclennan

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British Airways is to take part in efforts to bring UK citizens home.
British Airways is to take part in efforts to bring UK citizens home.

The UK government has announced tens of thousands of people stranded abroad in the coronavirus pandemic will be flown home.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced a new partnership agreement with airlines.

British Airways, Virgin, EasyJet, Jet2 and Titan will be asked to ferry passengers home to the UK as more and more countries around the world close their borders.

The government has pledged £75 million to arrange special charter flights to reach UK nationals.

Mr Raab made the announcement at the daily Downing Street press briefing where he took the place of Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is currently in isolation having tested positive for coronavirus.

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 where taking commercial flights is no longer possible.

“Partner airlines include British Airways, Virgin, Easyjet, Jet 2 and Titan.

"This list can be expanded under the arrangements that we are putting in place.

“Where commercial routes remain an option airlines will be responsible for getting passengers home.

"That means offering alternative flights at little to no cost where routes have been cancelled.

“That means allowing passengers to change tickets, including between carriers, so for those still in those countries where commercial options are still available don't wait to run the risk of getting stranded.

“The airlines are standing by to help you. Please book your tickets as soon as possible. Where commercial flights are no longer running the government will provide the necessary financial support for special charter flights to bring UK nationals back home.

“Where special charter flights have been arranged we will promote them through the government's travel advice and by the British Embassy or High Commission.”

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