United Kingdom

British billionaire Lord Sugar slammed for taking up a seat on flight coming into Australia

British billionaire Lord Alan Sugar has come under fire for flying to Australia to film the new series of Celebrity Apprentice, while thousands of Aussies are stranded overseas amid a shortage of flights coming Down Under. 

The 73-year-old business magnate landed in Sydney on Thursday morning and will start filming the long-running reality show once he's completed 14 days in quarantine. 

Lord Sugar, who has appeared on 15 seasons of the hit show in the UK, will eliminate the celebrities with his signature catchphrase 'you're fired'. 

More than 27,000 Australians stranded overseas are waiting to return, but with a weekly cap of 4,000 incoming passengers to Australia, airlines have warned they won't be able to get everyone home in time for Christmas.

Lord Sugar took to Twitter to share his excitement at touching down in Sydney this morning. 

But the billionaire, known for his no-nonsense approach to business, was quickly met with backlash for taking up a seat on one of the few flights coming to Australia. 

British billionaire Lord Alan Sugar has come under fire for flying to Australia to film the new series of Celebrity Apprentice, while thousands of Aussies are stranded overseas amid a shortage of flights coming Down Under. Pictured with wife Ann Simons 

The Lord, who has appeared on 15 seasons of the hit show in the UK, will eliminate the celebrities with his signature catchphrase 'you're fired'

'25k Aussies stranded abroad, and you take up a spot on a flight. Daughter can't travel across States for her Dad's funeral but you're allowed in. All for a tired TV show to laugh at z list celebs,' one man wrote. 

'Oz citizens and residents separated from partners, kids, jobs, lives can just jump on flights can they?! They are allowed in, but their own govt is hardly welcoming them to.'

'Umm confused, I thought only Australian nationals or permanent residents are currently allowed to return into the country?' said another.  

But some Australians sided with Lord Sugar, saying his travels here are justified for legitimate work. 

'Unbelievable some of the comments on here. The man has a self made fortune. Not won, not inherited. All earned through hard work. If he wants to fly to Australia, pay for it, & recognise good service then why shouldn’t he? Mental how some people are so bitter,' one man tweeted. 

'So glad u enjoyed it x and u have worked hard for ur money and success !! That’s what’s wrong with people, they don’t like to see others reaping the benefits of their hard work,' said another.  

The billionaire, known for his no-nonsense approach to business, was quickly met with backlash for taking up a seat on one of the few flights coming to Australia

A Nine spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: 'Bringing Lord Alan Sugar to Australia has been months in the making, and all the regular processes were followed, with no special treatment being given.

'Lord Sugar is currently serving the mandatory two-week quarantine in a Government-approved facility.'

It comes as Scott Morrison insists thousands more stranded Australians will re-enter the country each week, pressuring the states to boost capacities in hotel quarantine.

The prime minister is adamant the weekly cap on international arrivals will be increased by 2,000 places.

'The planes will land with people on them and they'll be arriving,' he told reporters on Thursday. 'It's a decision, it's not a proposal.'

Mr Morrison even nominated how many more returning travellers each state would take.

He said NSW, Western Australia and Queensland would all accept an extra 500 people each week.

Other jurisdictions are expected to take the rest.

Mr Morrison's declaration puts him on a collision course with the premiers and chief ministers ahead of a national cabinet meeting on Friday.

The states and territories have not formally agreed to boost hotel quarantine, so the deal is not done yet.

The prime minister has rejected Labor's calls to bring thousands of people in on air force planes.

He has also pushed back against suggestions the Commonwealth should re-establish federal quarantine facilities, as it did early in the pandemic to house people returning from China and Japan.

The government argues there are tens of thousands of empty hotel rooms that can be used for quarantine.

More than 27,000 Australians stranded overseas are waiting to return home 

Labor leader Anthony Albanese urged the prime minister to ensure people aren't being forced into paying exorbitant prices to return home.

'Access to Australia shouldn't be on the basis that you are rich enough to pay five figures to get on a plane,' he told reporters in Sydney.

Mr Morrison has also softened his language dramatically on Queensland's popular border closures.

After spending months criticising the restrictions, the prime minister now says Queensland and others must bring down their borders eventually.

'I have never said they had to bring them down immediately,' Mr Morrison said.

'I have just said we have got to have sensible and fair exemption systems and not have double standards and explain what we are doing.'

Scott Morrison insists thousands more stranded Australians will re-enter the country each week, pressuring the states to boost capacities in hotel quarantine

Qantas boss Alan Joyce is pleading with the states to reopen domestic borders.

'Europeans have been fighting themselves for thousands of years but they have somehow managed to agree to keep borders open,' he said.

But Mr Joyce won't be rethinking his decision to scrap all international flights until mid-next year, even to rescue Australians stuck overseas.

'The economics don't work,' he said.

Australia's national panel of medical experts has proposed new definitions for coronavirus zones and hotspots in a bid to reopen state borders.

National cabinet was expected to discuss the definitions on Friday, but that is no longer the case.

The prime minister believes the proposed definitions are far too tough.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the NSW Premier and Lord Sugar's office for comment.  

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