Airline hired to carry migrants to Rwanda pulls out of scheme
An airline hired to carry migrants from the UK to Rwanda has pulled out of operating any further such flights after pressure from campaigners.
The Government used a plane run by Privilege Style when it tried to remove people to the east African country in June for the first time under the new immigration policy, but the flight was grounded at the last minute after legal challenges.
Since then the Spanish charter airline has faced calls and demonstrations from campaigners urging them to abandon the arrangement.
On Friday, the Majorca-based airline confirmed it would not be operating any more such flights.
In a statement, it said: “It’s important for us to clarify: That we will never operate the flight to Rwanda since the one scheduled in June 2022, the reason for this controversy, was suspended and never flew; that we won’t operate flights to Rwanda in the future.”
Freedom from Torture, which led the campaign, said it had received a letter from the airline detailing the decision in which it also asked the charity to now cease “actions against our brand”.
The news prompts questions over which airline could be used to operate the flights, should they go ahead.
Two other charter airlines that previously conducted deportation flights, Titan Airways and AirTanker, have already ruled themselves out of the scheme, the Guardian reported.
The Home Office said it does not comment on “operational matters” but the Government remained “committed” to the Rwanda policy.
Then home secretary Priti Patel announced the £120 million deportation deal in April in a bid to curb Channel crossings by people in small boats. Since then at least 32,300 have made the journey.