Updated: New Foreign Office rescue flights planned for stranded tourists

Emergency government rescue flights for British tourist stranded across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic are set to operate next week with more airlines joining the relief effort.

Destinations to be served on Tuesday include The Bahamas and Philippines.

Tickets for a special flight from Nassau cost £500 and £1,000 from  Manila, Cebu, Bohol, Puerto Princesa and Siargao in the Philippines.

Travellers in financial difficulties in the Asian country are being given the option to apply for an emergency loan to cover the flight cost which will need to be repaid on return to the UK, according to the Foreign Office.

Business travel agency Corporate Travel Management has been contracted by the FCO to manage bookings from the Philippines.

Virgin Atlantic will operate special flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town from April 9 for British travellers stranded in South Africa – which is in lockdown until April 16 –  to return to the UK.

The cost is £855.43 per person from Cape Town and £655.50 per person from Johannesburg.

To be eligible to take this flight, you must be normally resident in the UK. Eligibility, including a UK address, will be checked before tickets are issued, according to the FCO.

Special flights will run from Kathmandu in Nepal from Wednesday (April 8) for British tourists, short-term visitors and their direct dependants to return to the UK at a cost of £800.

The FCO is also working with airlines, local authorities and other governments to help Britons stuck in Barbados after British Airways and Virgin Atlantic suspended scheduled services from Bridgetown.

Similar efforts are being made to bring Britons home from other countries, including Antigua, Belize, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Paraguay and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Ten airlines ave joined the government’s repatriation effort, bringing the total to 14, including BA, Norwegian, Ryanair, Tui, Virgin Atlantic and Wizz Air. Others participating are Air Tanker, Eastern Airways, Jet2, Jota Aviation, Loganair and Titan Airways.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Travellers 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.

“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 travellers by providing more flexibility over tickets and costs.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps added: “We continue to work with airlines round the clock to reunite British citizens with their families and loved ones.

“With more airlines pledging support, this huge operation becomes a little easier, speeding up the process and helping ensure a greater number of people return home quickly and safely.”

A German repatriation flight from Costa Rica is due to operate today (Monday) after BA ceased operations from the Central American nation on March 30 until June 27.

Meanwhile, Pakistan International Airlines is to operate a number of flights to and from various locations, including the UK, with bookings available from today (Saturday).

Normal scheduled international flights to and from Pakistan had been suspended until April 11.

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