Virgin Atlantic has said that it will no longer carry out the involuntary deportation flights for the people who are considered to be illegal immigrants.
A spokesperson for the said airline disclosed that it had already notified the Home Office regarding the decision of the company. The spokesperson said that the decisions was made “in the best interest of our customers and people”.
The said decision comes after months of controversy that plagued the government because of the Windrush scandal. Today, the 70th anniversary of the said scandal is scheduled to be marked by the mayor of London during an event at the City Hall.
Virgin Atlantic has provided the seats on its flights for many years to the detainees and the accompanying security officers, with some Jamaican charities that help in resettling the deportees informing the Guardian that regular arrivals came via the airline.
Last month, it was revealed in parliament that the government has spent approximately £17 million on commercial flights for purposes of deportation between the period of 2016 and 2017.
Activist groups have lauded the airline for the said decision, after groups such as Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants was able to receive a yet-to-be-published open letter from Virgin Atlantic about the deportations.
A member of the group named Sam Bjorn, stated: “The fact that the company has finally opted to break with this controversial practice testifies to a profound shift in public opinion on deportation since the emergence of the Windrush scandal.
“Public attention will now be turning to other airline companies like British Airways and Qatar Airways who are still involved in transporting deportees.”
The Home Office said that it does not release comments regarding operational matters.