Repatriation flights from Peru arrive in UK

By Catherine Wylie, David Hughes and Mike Bedigan, PA

Two repatriation flights carrying British passengers from Peru have landed at Heathrow Airport.

The British Airways flights left Lima on Sunday and landed at the west London hub on Monday morning.

The planes touched down after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Foreign Office had chartered more flights from Peru.

The Foreign Office has not said how many passengers were on board, but said two more flights will leave Peru on Monday, arriving in the UK on Tuesday.

The repatriation flights were arranged by the Foreign Office in partnership with British Airways to rescue more than 1,000 stranded Britons.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We recognise British tourists abroad are finding it difficult to return to the UK because of the unprecedented international travel and domestic restrictions that are being introduced around the world – often with very little or no notice.

“The FCO is working around the clock to support British travellers in this situation to allow them to come back to the UK.

“The Government is seeking to keep key transit routes open as long as possible and is in touch with international partners and the airline industry to make this happen.

“Consular staff are supporting those with urgent need while providing travel advice and support to those still abroad.”

Mr Raab is said to have spoken to more than 30 of his counterparts around the world about getting people home.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, the Foreign Office has helped to bring home almost 1,400 people on specially chartered Government flights from China and Peru and 1,900 people on cruise ships from places including California, Brazil and Japan.

In the last week, the Foreign Office has helped more than 4,000 people to get back from Jamaica and more than 8,500 people to get back from Morocco.

Around 5,000 Britons successfully left Bali after the British team in Indonesia worked with their counterparts to unblock a visa permissions issue.

On Monday afternoon, the Government said an announcement on efforts to repatriate Britons stranded abroad by the coronavirus crisis was expected imminently.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have been working with airlines on options for Government to charter flights.

“You can expect an announcement on that imminently.”