COVID-19: £75 million package to help people stranded abroad

Geoffrey Cox QC, Member of Parliament for Torridge and West Devon, has welcomed the Government’s announcement that a £75 million package is being made available to help Britons return home who are currently stuck overseas.

The funding will see the Government working in partnership with the airline industry in measures announced by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Where commercial routes remain feasible airlines, including Virgin, Easyjet, Jet2 and Titan Airways, will be responsible for getting their passengers with pre-booked tickets, home. Where commercial routes do not exist, the government will provide up to £75 million to enable special charter flights to priority countries to bring back UK residents.

Geoffrey Cox said: “This package will come as a huge relief to the many constituents throughout Torridge and West Devon who have contacted me because they are worried about loved ones who are stranded abroad.

“While a number of constituents who have contacted me are now safely home, there are many more still struggling to get a flight back to the UK. If anyone in Torridge and West Devon has any concerns about a family member, or they themselves are stranded abroad and need help, they should contact my constituency office on 01822 612925.”

The Government has announced that special charter flights for countries with no commercial routes will be prioritised according to the number of stranded British travellers and their vulnerability, including an assessment of the local health provision. In some places, access for flights to land and the ability to move around within the country to assemble for return flights will also be decisive factors.

Charter flights are already up and running to Ghana and Tunisia, with more countries to be added this week with the aim of bringing people back from countries such as India and South Africa where large numbers of British travellers are stuck and commercial routes are completely suspended.

Commenting, Foreign Secretary, Dominic 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.”