Dominic Raab will present a return plan on Tuesday to help hundreds of thousands of Britons stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic, understands The Telegraph.
The package will focus primarily on further commercial flights operated by the airlines, after the Foreign Secretary spent his weekend calling counterparts around the world to convince them to keep air routes open.
Numerous new charter flights are also expected to be announced, with three planes already leaving for Peru for London at the weekend.
However, Raab’s top priority remains to keep commercial planes in the sky and ensure that major international transit hubs remain open for Britons returning from long-haul destinations.
The government has already reached an agreement with Singapore to act as a hub for destinations like New Zealand and Australia and remains in close contact with several Gulf states.
It comes after Rahab urged the British overseas to return home immediately “as long as possible” last week, warning that a coronavirus pandemic has led to an increasing number of countries that have closed and closed their airports.
The ministers have suffered criticism in recent days for the lack of charter flights made available, with tourists who warn they fear being stuck for months due to the lack of available commercial flights.
Among those who are at risk of getting stuck there is the staff of the NHS, who says he wants to be able to return to the front line to support the response to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
They include Rachel Brockbank, an ICU nurse, who told the New Zealand Herald that after her and her husband’s flight was canceled on Wednesday, they now face having to pay up to £ 40,000 each to return. from Auckland.
In response, Emily Thornberry, Labor’s shadow foreign secretary, called on the government to mobilize the RAF Voyager fleet of 14 converted Airbus planes to support the return effort.
Separately, the Telegraph was told that the RAF was involved in the repatriation of some Britons from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
However, Whitehall sources have diminished the prospect of significant military involvement in the return of the British, with a minister describing the issue as a “complete red herring”.
“The challenge is to get enough commercial flights,” added a second source. “We have already brought many people back on commercial flights and are trying to do more by keeping airlines and air routes open.”
The minister added that the main challenge for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was to obtain authorization for flights departing from a number of countries, which have always been reluctant to reopen their airports.
They revealed that on at least one occasion last week, a British airline has not been able to land in a country due to the poorly posed fears that would have required the crew to land at the airport.
The other priority for British officials is the reopening of “regional bridges” – flights between neighboring countries – in order to allow the British to travel from a more remote destination to one with multiple routes to the United Kingdom.
“Aircraft shortages are not the problem,” they added.
The Foreign Office is also continuing to work with airlines to cope with rising commercial flight prices, among the warnings that spiral costs are now exceeding the travel insurance limits of many tourists.