Deportation flights cost an average of £175,000 last year, figures show | Political news
Deportation flights cost the government an average of £175,000 last year, according to figures obtained by Sky News.
The figures come as the government prepares to send a plane carrying just a handful of migrants to Rwanda under a controversial new scheme that has been beset by legal challenges.
Home Office data obtained through a freedom of information request shows that 1,305 people were deported in 2021, compared to 828 in 2020 and 410 in 2019.
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More than £11.3million was spent on those 65 deportation flights.
Reports suggest that the first Rwandan flight – which was subject to legal challenges – will cost around £500,000.
Deportation data, showing that 65 flights last year cost £11,370,678.06 in total, suggests that each flight costs around £175,000, or £8,713 per person.
But more than half of them were destined for European countries – Albania (497), Romania (324), Poland (183) and Lithuania (172) recording the highest number of returns.
There were only four flights to Africa, with Zimbabwe (2), Nigeria (1) and Ghana (1) being the only countries on the continent to receive deportees from the UK.
This could suggest that the flight from Rwanda, covering a greater distance than most of those flown last year, will cost slightly more than the £175,000 average.
Last year there were an average of 20 people on each plane, with some flights taking off with just four people on board.
A flight to Jamaica in November 2021 saw numerous legal challenges, including 13 within 24 hours of departure.
The thefts covered by the latest data relate to “people who have no right to be in the UK” – including foreign offenders as well as immigration offenders.
Flight under the new Rwandan scheme is different – these are asylum seekers who have risked their lives to flee to Britain and whose applications have not yet been processed.