A Boeing 747 British Airways (BA) flight BA9157 with registration number G-CIVO on Monday, April, 20, airlifted 213 Britons (including 22 crew members) from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, as part of the United Kingdom’s repatriation efforts over the COVID19 pandemic.
The plane landed at 13.22 hours and departed at 16.00 hours, thus making it the third evacuation carried out by the UK government in two days. The fourth repatriation is expected to take place April 22, according to the UK Mission.
On Saturday, April 18, a BA Boeing 747 airlifted 301 Britons from MMIA at 16.10 hours, while 242 were moved from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on the same day.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, who was at the Abuja airport to coordinate the first set of evacuation, expressed the gratitude to the Federal Government for making the evacuation possible. She also stated that to be eligible for all flights, primary residence has to be in the UK and that they prioritised helping the most vulnerable and those with underlying medical conditions placing them at greater risk of serious illness if they contact COVID-19.
“I want to say thank you to the Government of Nigeria for all the support they have given us . I particularly want to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Aviation, the Federal Capital Territory and the Lagos State government.
“It has been a really challenging process because we have had thousands of British citizens overseas wanting to get back and I appreciate my team that have worked tirelessly to put this together.
“For these first few flights, we have been priotising vulnerable British citizens who are at risk of contracting COVID-19, the elderly, the disabled and those with children. There will be more flights coming to Lagos and I urge more people to book because the more people book, the better chances we have when we make a case to London for more flights. Many of the passengers I spoke to have Nigerian-British heritage, so we are seeing the best of both worlds,” Laing said.
The UK Mission had earlier stated that the nationals would pay under £500 for their seats and that the Federal Government has assured that people who exceed their authorised visa stays as a result of travel restrictions linked to COVID-19 will not be penalised as over-stayers when they depart.