Deadline passes for Britons to get ‘final’ UK evacuation flight from war-torn Sudan

The RAF has airlifted nearly 2,200 people from an airfield near the capital Khartoum  (PA Media)
The RAF has airlifted nearly 2,200 people from an airfield near the capital Khartoum (PA Media)

The deadline has passed for British nationals to get what is being billed as the last evacuation flight out of Sudan as a fragile ceasefire holds.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) had given those looking to flee the war-torn nation until 11am UK time - midday in Sudan - to reach the departure site on the eastern coast.

Officials at the Foreign Office would not confirm what time the flight was due to take off, but flight tracking websites showed a Royal Air Force (RAF) Airbus A400M Atlas plane as having landed at Port Sudan at about 3pm on Monday.

The UK Government said it was “exceptionally" offering one final flight following a series of repatriation departures out of Sudan last week.

It is understood the flight will airlift a limited number of British nationals left in the country - which has been rocked by fighting that is pushing Sudan into a humanitarian crisis - who wish to leave.

Those who wanted to be on the aircraft were instructed to arrive at the Coral Hotel by the midday deadline.

The extended evacuation flight came after concern from figures including Tory MP Alicia Kearns, who worried about UK residents, including NHS doctors, being prevented from reaching evacuation flights by fighters.

Foreign Office officials said the number of people evacuated on UK flights up to Saturday was 2,122 on 23 flights, calling the British effort “the longest and largest evacuation by any Western nation”.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly earlier said: “Evacuation flights have ended from Wadi Saeedna but our rescue efforts continue from Port Sudan.”

The UK will continue to advocate for a long-term end to the conflict along with its international allies, Mr Cleverly added.

The British Government has agreed to include NHS doctors without UK passports on its final journeys amid criticism over the scope of its eligibility criteria for evacuation.

Flights had previously been limited to British nationals and their immediate family.

But its decision not to offer escorts to those making the potentially perilous journey to the airfield near Khartoum was also called into question.

Flights have been touching down in Cyprus, which has activated a humanitarian rescue mechanism for evacuating third-country civilians, before arriving in the UK hours later.

The conflict pits army chief General Abdel Fattah Burhan against General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the head of a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The generals, both with powerful foreign backers, were allies in an October 2021 military coup that halted Sudan’s fraught transition to democracy, but they have since turned on each other.