Super-rich lockdown flouters hold the key to Britain’s back door: How private jets are flying hundreds of passengers from Covid-19 hotspots into UK due to lax border controls
A staggering 545 private planes entered UK since lockdown began on 23 March
Among them were 25 from Spain and 15 from US – world’s worst-affected nation
It is thought wealthy visitors are not being transparent about why they are flying
Some claim they are going to family homes, as opposed to second or holiday home
By JAMES GANT FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 10:18, 19 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:59, 19 April 2020
Super-rich tourists have been using private jets to fly to Britain from Covid-19-ravaged countries.
A staggering 545 chartered planes entered the UK since lockdown began on 23 March, helped by the country’s open border policy.
Among them were 25 aircraft from Covid-stricken Spain, 15 from the US – the world’s worst-affected nation – 27 from France and 32 from Germany.
It comes after a private jet full of super-rich holidaymakers from London was sent packing from France last week when they tried to get to their Cannes villa by helicopter.
More than 15,000 people are entering the UK daily and are being allowed to leave airports without being tested for the bug which has killed more than 160,000 people globally.
It is understood wealthy visitors are not being transparent about why they are flying so they can bypass the Government’s ‘essential travel’ only rule.
Some are reportedly saying they are going to their family home in the UK as opposed to a second or holiday home.
Britain is one of few countries to keep their borders open during the pandemic, while 130 others have brought in tighter controls.
President of epidemiology and public health at the Royal Society of Medicine, Professor Gabriel Scally told the Times it was ‘hard to understand’ why the UK is following this policy.
Chief executive of the Air Charter Service Justin Bowman said ‘there are still thousands of people’ stranded abroad and he hoped ‘many of these flights will be legitimate repatriations’.
He added: ‘I would hope those abusing the rules are in the minority.’
Wealthy flyers have also been jetting out of the UK on private planes to far-flung destinations such as the UAE.
An astonishing 767 aircraft have been allowed to take off from Britain, with 115 using the ‘discreet’ London Farnborough airport in Hampshire.
Thirty-four planes flew to France, 34 went to Germany, 30 to Spain and 23 to Russia, where private jet tickets can cost up to £70,000.
A further ten went to the UAE, which can cost up to £100,000.
The Civil Aviation Authority said it had ‘no way of knowing if the hire of private aircraft has increased or declined in recent weeks’.
Earlier this month seven men in their 40s and 50s and three women in their 20s arrived at Marseille-Provence airport and were intercepted by local police.
The organizer of the trip on 4 April – a Croatian working in banking in the UK – had booked the jet and helicopters to take everybody to the rented villa.
The private jet used by the groups was an Embraer Legacy 600 – a Brazil made luxury business jet, which costs around £5million.