Coronavirus flights: British Airways, easyJet and Virgin to fly stranded Brits abroad

EasyJet, British Airways and Virgin are amongst airlines which will fly stranded Brits from countries back to the UK during the coronavirus outbreak. The Government announced the incoming chartered flights in today’s COVID-19 press conference. 


The Government has struck up a £75 million arrangement with the UK’s leading airlines today to fly stranded Brits back to the country. 

Speaking in today’s (March 30) daily press conference, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the measures, which will recruit Virgin, British Airways and easyJet among others to fly people home. 

Charter flights would come to special “priority countries” while the Government would also back a compensation scheme for commercial flights, Mr Raab has announced. 

He urged those in select countries where commercial flights are still flying should “not wait” to book. 

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Coronavirus flights: British Airways, easyJet and Virgin to fly stranded Brits abroad (Image: GETTY) Coronavirus flights: British Airways is amongst several airlines which will help people get home (Image: GETTY)

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Mr Raab added passengers would also be able to change tickets for “little to no cost”.

He said: “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.”

Coronavirus flights: Dominic Raab said the government would work with both chartered and commercial flights (Image: PA)

“So for those still in those countries where commercial flights are still available, don’t wait, don’t 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 financial support for special charter flights to bring UK nationals back at home.”

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Coronavirus flights: Millions of Brits could be stranded abroad (Image: GETTY)

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The Foreign Secretary previously estimated up to a million people could be abroad amid the COVID crisis. 

However, the government has no way to know for sure how many of its citizens now reside abroad. 

Many of them were left stranded whilst on holiday, with countries shutting down to control the spread of the disease. 

The task the government now has is to return people home from areas which may not have direct flights back to the UK, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) may not be prepared to handle the unprecedented crisis. 

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The FCO is on hand to offer support to Brits travelling abroad, with roughly 20,000 people in need every year.

The pandemic has seen hundreds of thousands of pleas to the office’s various consular arms, an unprecedented amount. 

According to the BBC, the FCO’s crisis centre at King Charles Street in London is not prepared to “handle a global consular crisis”.

Now, the organisation is having to undergo profound changes to tackle their new directive.