Great Britain

Empty 218-seat jet hired to deport just ONE person as £17m spent on removal flights

AN EMPTY passenger jet costing taxpayers thousands flew just one deportee home, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.

The individual was accompanied by 14 back-up staff on the 218-seat flight.

An empty airliner deported just one passenger late last year, it has now been revealed

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An empty airliner deported just one passenger late last year, it has now been revealedCredit: Alamy

The single “enforced deportation” took place last October as part of Operation Esparto.

Ministers spent £17.1million on flights to remove people last year averaging £13,354 a head in the final three months.

They return foreign criminals, illegal immigrants and failed asylum claimants.

Six flights left with less than five people on board in 2020, Immigration Enforcement stats reveal.

The biggest trip was for 34 people returned to Albania accompanied by 121 staff.

A jet with room for 267 passengers took just three to France and Italy.

Late legal claims lead to passengers being pulled off planes.

Tory MP David Jones last night branded the trips “wasteful”.

John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Taxpayers will be shocked.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We make no apology for seeking to remove migrants with no right to remain.”

Priti Patel vows illegal immigrants landing on UK beaches face deportation in as little as 24 hours

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