Open Borders Britain: Hundreds of Private Jets Fly In Despite Lockdown

The private jet believed to be carrying Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantanamo Bay, comes in to land at Biggin Hill Airport, in south east London on October 30, 2015. Shaker Aamer, arrived in London on Friday having earlier been freed from the US military prison in Cuba, …
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The British government has maintained an open borders policy during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing hundreds of private jets to land in the country despite introducing lockdown measures that have forced millions of ordinary citizens into self-isolation.

At lest 545 private jets have landed in the United Kingdom since the lockdown was introduced last month, with 25 confirmed as arriving from Spain, 27 from France, and 32 from Germany. An additional 15 jets have arrived from the United States, the country with the most reported coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, an estimated 15,000 people are arriving daily on normal flights into the nation’s airports with no mandatory health screenings being carried out and no quarantine requirement, according to The Sunday Times.

The president of epidemiology and public health at the Royal Society of Medicine, Professor Gabriel Scally, said that he found the government’s open borders policy “hard to understand” and “most peculiar”.

Private jet carriers are supposed to limit flights in order to conform with the government’s “essential travel” notice, but many wealthy individuals are reportedly skirting the regulations by lying about their reason for entering the country.

The Civil Aviation Authority, the regulatory body responsible for monitoring flights into the country, said that because it does not monitor the number of private flights, it has “no way of knowing if the hire of private aircraft has increased or declined in recent weeks.”

Justin Bowman, chief executive of the Air Charter Service — the world’s largest private charter service — claimed that many people are using private jets to return home after being stranded abroad.

“The airlines stopped pretty much overnight. There are still thousands of people in the wrong place. Many of these flights will be legitimate repatriations from around the world. I would hope those abusing the rules are in the minority,” Bowman said.

On Wednesday, an anonymous Heathrow border patrol officer called on the government to start imposing health checks at airports in order to prevent more cases of the Chinese coronavirus from being seeded in the country.

“We’ve got to start testing people at the airport as soon as they land. And we can easily catch the plane and just do temperature checks. We can easily do it. Just give us the equipment, and we’ll do it,” the officer pleaded.

“Our job is to protect the border, and we’re not doing that,” he admitted.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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