The Home Office is flying illegal immigrants and foreign criminals out of Britain on half-empty planes at a cost of millions of pounds a year. Each chartered plane costs up to £250,000, even though some only have a handful of people on board.
Ministers say that they have to fly so few people home because the destination countries limit the number they will accept at any one time.
The Daily Express reports that, in the worst case, a 265-seat airliner took just 13 Ghanaians home. Although 40 more seats were taken by border officials and medical staff, 212 seats were still left empty.
The paper says that in total, the government chartered 45 flights last year with a total of around 13,000 seats, yet just 2,571 people were on these planes.
Given that the total cost of hiring these planes would be at least £11 million, each passenger cost the taxpayer nearly £4,500.
These figures do not take into account the fact that the official escorts for the deportees will also have to be paid, thus increasing the cost further.
Dia Chakravarty of the TaxPayers’ Alliance told the Express: “This is a joke – but taxpayers footing the bill won’t be laughing. It’s ludicrous that countries refuse to take back their citizens. Our diplomats need to do better in challenging these rules.”
Gerard Batten, UKIP MEP for London, added: “Here we are with tens of thousands of people we want to deport and foreign governments are placing restrictions on us. Perhaps the best thing would be to fly over and parachute them in.”