The British government is reportedly using half-empty privately charted planes in order to deport small group of immigrants whose asylum requests have been rejected, as well as criminals who are being deported — and they’re spending millions of taxpayers’ pounds to do so. For the 18 months prior to June 2015, the UK’s Home Office spent almost £14 million on chartered flights.
Under the UK Borders Act, criminals can be deported for a number of reasons. This includes being convicted of a crime in the UK, serving a sentence after August 2008, and being jailed for 12 months or more.
According to information released by the Daily Mail under the freedom of information legislation, a minimum of 54 private jets were hired by the government. On each flight, there was an average of only 53 passengers.
On many flights, there were as few as 11 illegal immigrants.
The report shows that the Home Office project even spent £250,000 to return just one Moroccan deportee on a charter jet. And on a separate occasion, 25 Nigerians were returned to their home country on a 265-seat plane.
On average, each plane costs approximately £250,000, bringing the total expense to a shocking £13.5 million.
And these high deportation costs are only climbing higher. According to Corporate Watch, a non-governmental organization, the cost of private planes used for deportation went from £69,000 in 2003 to £2220,000 over the same period. That’s a $240,000 increase.
Keith Vaz, labor politician and chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, told the Daily Mail, “These are astonishing figures for a government department that is facing huge cuts.”
Vaz continues, “A half-empty flight is a waste of money and shows a woeful lack of competence and organization. Ministers really need to get a grip.”
In its defense, the government argues that the jets are necessary in order to avoid disrupting normal flights and to separate individuals whose history of non-compliance makes them a risk to the public.
The United States, with over 2,100 chartered jet planes nationwide, certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Operations Specifications, has yet to employ this method of deployment.