The Campaign To Repatriate UK Citizens – What’s Being Done?

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is working around the clock to repatriate Brits from all corners of the globe. Many flights have already taken place, with more scheduled for the coming weeks.

UK government airline bailout
Hundreds of repatriation flights are being operated by airlines for the UK FCO. Photo: Getty Images

In partnership with airlines, the FCO has been flying Brits home from multiple destinations. However, in some cases, they’re instructing passengers to book their own travel with foreign airlines. Let’s take a look at four examples of countries to see just what is being done to repatriate the thousands of stranded Brits.

Indian repatriation effort

One of the greatest repatriation efforts has seen tens of flights scheduled to India to bring Brits back to the United Kingdom. The FCO is currently operating its 10th round of Rescue flights from India. This consists of 25 flights from five destinations. British Airways has been operating the majority of flights to and from India, with a handful also being operated by Virgin Atlantic.

So far the two airlines have operated 21 non-stop rescue flights between them to the following destinations:

  • Ahmedabad (AMD) – 4x British Airways flights;
  • Amritsar (ATQ) – 6x British Airways flights;
  • Mumbai (BOM) – 2x Virgin Atlantic flights;
  • Delhi (DEL) – 1x Virgin Atlantic flight, 2x British Airways flights;
  • Goa (GOI) – 4x British Airways flights.
British Airways, India, Repatriation flights
Pictured here is of British Airways’ many flights to repatriate those stuck in India. Photo: British Airways

However, British Airways has also operated several ‘stopping’ services that have served multiple destinations with lower demand. These flights operated as follows:

  • 14th April – G-YMMB – London Heathrow (LHR) ✈︎ Bahrain (BAH) ✈︎ Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) ✈︎ Cochin (COK) ✈︎ Bahrain ✈︎ London Heathrow;
  • 16th April – G-YMMB – London Heathrow ✈︎ Bahrain ✈︎ Hyderabad (HYD) ✈︎ Ahmedabad (AMD) ✈︎ Bahrain ✈︎ London Heathrow;
  • 17th April – G-YMMC – London Heathrow ✈︎ Bahrain ✈︎ Thiruvananthapuram ✈︎ Goa ✈︎ Mumbai ✈︎ Bahrain ✈︎ London Heathrow;
  • 18th April – G-YMMB – London Heathrow ✈︎ Bahrain ✈︎ Kolkata (CCU) ✈︎ Delhi ✈︎ Bahrain ✈︎ London Heathrow;
  • 19th April – G-YMMC – London Heathrow ✈︎ Bahrain ✈︎ Chennai (MAA) ✈︎ Bengaluru (BLR) ✈︎ Bahrain ✈︎ London Heathrow.

Future Indian flights

According to the FCO, 22 trips to India are still yet to be carried out. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will likely operate these to London Heathrow on the following dates:

  • Delhi – 25th, 27th, 30th April;
  • Ahmedabad – 24th, 26th, 28th, 29th April; 1st, 3rd, 4th May;
  • Amritsar – 25th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th April; 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th May;
  • Goa – 24th April;
  • Mumbai – 26th April.

Unfortunately, bookings for these flights are now closed. For further flights, stranded passengers should follow the guidance of the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Bangladesh repatriation

An example of a country with a slightly smaller repatriation effort is Bangladesh. The UK government has organized just four flights for the time being. This will be operated from Dhaka to London. Due to run on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, and 26th of April, they will cost £600 per person. The FCO is also booking domestic connections from Sylhet if necessary for this price.

Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic has also played a role in the repatriation. Photo: Getty Images

The FCO states:

“The British High Commission Dhaka is in contact with airlines, the Bangladesh authorities and other governments to make sure commercial options for returning to the UK are also available as soon as possible.”

Sri Lanka repatriation

The United Kingdom currently has no repatriation flights from Sri Lanka planned. Instead, it is advising passengers to book onto a Qatar Airways flight via Doha. Qatar Airways has continued to operate an extensive global network to keep people moving. The airline has even helped a Simple Flying journalist to return home. This option is available once per day, with the cheapest tickets costing from LKR 187688 (788.19 GBP or 973.06 USD) as of Monday, according to the Qatar Airways booking engine.

Qatar Airways flying over Doha
Those in Sri Lanka have been advised to book flights with Qatar Airways. Photo: Getty Images

Kenya repatriation

Last but not least, let’s take a look at the repatriation effort from Kenya. In this case, one single repatriation flight is being operated from Nairobi to London Heathrow tomorrow. A connecting flight will be conducted from Mombassa by Kenya Airways subsidiary, Jambo Jet.

Kenya Airways flight
Kenya Airways is running a one-off repatriation flight to London tomorrow. Photo: Getty Images

Kenya Airways is bizarrely still selling tickets for this flight for £1,416 from Nairobi. However, those who buy tickets now will not be able to travel on the plane. The ticket price includes a mandatory coronavirus test, which must have been administered by 10:00 this morning at the latest.

Have you taken a repatriation flight offered by the United Kingdom Government? Let us know your story in the comments section!