“Over the last two weeks I have received emails from over 30 constituents who have found themselves or have loved ones stranded abroad in countries including New Zealand, USA, and Indonesia as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I recognise that many constituents, as well as their family and friends, have faced a lot of difficulty trying to return home over the last two weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have been working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to help those constituents stranded abroad. I am relieved that some have secured new flights to return home safely. For many, however, there have been no alternative flights available because of the shutdown of some airports by their respective governments. Which is why the government has announced up to £75 million in funding, and an agreement with commercial airlines, to fly home British travellers stranded abroad.”
Commercial airlines, including Virgin, Easyjet, Jet2 and Titan Airways will offer alternative flights at little or no extra cost to passengers. British Airways have also made it clear that they will work with the government in the national interest to get people home. British travellers seeking to return to the UK should contact their airline immediately.
The government has also pledged to charter special flights for large numbers of British travellers in priority countries where there are no commercial options available. Travellers will be able to book affordable tickets for these special flights through a dedicated travel management company. For those genuinely unable to pay for new flights and as a last resort, the Foreign Office can offer an emergency loan.
The Foreign Office call centre has tripled in capacity and consulates are working around the clock to help British travellers find a way back home. Hundreds of thousands of British travellers have already been helped back including around 150,000 from Spain, 8,500 from Morocco and 5,000 from Cyprus.
For the latest FCO travel advice, visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice which will be updated when special flights become available. For consular support, contact the FCO call centre on(+44) (0)207 008 1500.
“It is hugely worrying for families to be stranded abroad in the middle of this Coronavirus Pandemic, which is why we are doing everything we can to bring them home safely. It is also why the unprecedented package of travel support announced by the government this week is so important and so welcome.
“This situation is evolving constantly so I would urge those still abroad and trying to return home, to check the FCO travel advice and keep up to date with information given by the nearest British embassy or high commission. My team and I can also be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.”