The UK government is ramping up efforts to bring home thousands of travelers stranded overseas by coronavirus with a new package of extra flights and 10 additional airlines joining its scheme to keep commercial routes open and get British people back to the UK.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised all British travelers to return to the UK now.
From next week the government will start to bring stranded British travelers back from India with flights from Delhi, Goa and Mumbai, the FCO said.
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The 14 airlines that have signed up to the plan to get Britons home are: Air Tanker, Blue Islands, British Airways, Eastern Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Jota Aviation, Loganair, Norwegian, Ryanair, Titan Airways., TUI, Virgin and Wizz.
According to the FCO, passengers interested in these flights from India are advised to check the travel advice for India which the FCO said will be updated when booking for these flights opens.
Since Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced on March 30 that the Government had reached an agreement with airlines more than 1,450 British travelers have flown home on specially chartered flights.
“Travelers are facing an unprecedented challenge on a global scale, and I know people are understandably desperate to get back to their homes and loved ones,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
“We are committed to supporting Britons getting home either through commercial routes we have helped keep open or through specially chartered flights. With more airlines signing up it should mean more flights available but also a fairer deal for travelers by providing more flexibility over tickets and costs,” he said.
“Where it is possible to get back to the UK on commercial routes by any carrier, the FCO continues to encourage all British nationals to take such opportunities,” Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps said.
UK signs MoU with UAE on transit flights
Meanwhile, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the UK's FCO signed on Saturday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on transit flights for British nationals during the COVID-19 emergency period.
The memorandum was signed by Khalid Belhoul, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and by Patrick Moody, UK Ambassador to the UAE, reported the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
The MoU stipulates that the two countries are ready to facilitate the movement of nationals of the two countries in emergencies. It provides a comprehensive framework between the UAE and the UK to facilitate the operation of transit flights for the repatriation of British nationals.
The MoU will contribute to facilitating the repatriation of British nationals to their homeland, by allowing flights that carry them to transit through UAE airports en route to the United Kingdom, and providing the necessary services and facilities to them, while maintaining precautionary and preventive measures and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the UAE.