Coronavirus: UK citizens furious at £1,000 repatriation flights from Philippines while travellers in Peru paid just £250

UK citizens have criticised the government’s £75m repatriation programme as too little, too late and too expensive.

British tourists seeking to fly home from the Philippines must pay £1,000 for a repatriation flight – four times more than travellers flown home from Peru.

In normal times, connecting flights via Istanbul cost around £350 one way.

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The Foreign Office has organised two charter flights from the Filipino capital, Manila, to London Heathrow, to bring back holidaymakers stranded when the country banned international flights in response to the coronavirus crisis.

They will use Philippine Airlines rather than any of the UK carriers that have agreed to repatriate British citizens.

One aircraft is scheduled to depart at noon on Tuesday 7 April, with a second an hour later.

Connecting flights will operate from Cebu, Bohol, Puerto Princesa and Siargao for British travellers in this locations.

But some UK citizens say the price is too high. Paul Swords tweeted: “Cannot afford it, thank you and good night.”

Dan Gadsden wrote on Twitter: “Russia repat flights €100, Germany €200, France €250. All direct from Cebu.

“Follow the precedent set here and subsidise, people cannot afford £1,000.”

Before the £75m airline was announced, travellers from Peru were offered connecting flights from Cusco and Arequipa to Lima, together with nonstop flights on British Airways to Heathrow.

They were not required to pay in advance and instead signed an agreement to repay £250 on arrival in the UK.

The rate per mile from Lima to London was 4p. In contrast, travellers from Manila must pay 15p per mile.

Novem Abellana tweeted: “How about me, an NHS Nurse? I departed Manchester on 9 March and arrived in Cebu on 10 March, the date it was declared pandemic. I had booked two flights for 28 March, but all were cancelled, still waiting refund. “Please include me if there are any repatriation, and make it free/cheap.”

Passengers from India – from where seven rescue flights will be operating in the next week – are being asked to pay up to £681 one way, a rate of 14p per mile.

The Independent has asked the Foreign Office for a response.

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