deportation-flights-cost-average-of-£175,000-each-last-year,-figures-show

Deportation flights cost average of £175,000 each last year, figures show

Deportation flights cost the government an average of £175,000 each 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 via a Freedom of Information request show that 1,305 people were deported in 2021, up from 828 in 2020 and 410 in 2019.

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More than £11.3m was spent on these 65 deportation flights.

Reports have suggested that the first Rwanda flight – which has been subject to legal challenges – will cost around £500,000.

The deportation data, showing that 65 flights last year cost £11,370,678.06 in total, suggests each flight cost approximately £175,000, working out at £8,713 per person.

But more than half of those were to European nations – with Albania (497), Romania (324), Poland (183) and Lithuania (172) seeing the highest number of returns.

There were just four flights to Africa, with Zimbabwe (2), Nigeria (1) and Ghana (1) the only countries on the continent receiving deportees from the UK.

That might suggest the Rwanda flight, covering a greater distance than most of those flown last year, will cost somewhat more than the £175,000 average.

Last year saw an average number of 20 people on each plane, with some flights taking off with just four on board.

One flight to Jamaica in November 2021 saw numerous legal challenges, with 13 made within 24 hours of departure.

The flights covered by the latest data relate to “people who have no right to be in the UK” – including foreign national offenders as well as immigration offenders.

The flight under the new Rwanda scheme is different – it is for asylum seekers who have risked their lives to flee to Britain and have yet to have their claims processed.