Greece wildfires: easyJet to operate repatriation flights from Rhodes after mass evacuations due to wildfires

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Thousands of locals and UK tourists have been evacuated from their homes and hotels due to the wildfires

Budget airline easyJet has announced that it will be operating repatriation flights in the coming days as British tourists remained in limbo on the Greek island of Rhodes amid devastating wildfires.

Two flights are set to depart the Greek island on Monday 24 July, while a third flight will depart on Tuesday 25 July. The flights will land in London Gatwick Airport as British holidaymakers attempt to escape the infernos.

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A statement from easyJet said: “We know the situation for many currently in Rhodes is very difficult so we are doing all we can to help customers and provide assistance. easyJet will be operating two repatriation flights tomorrow from Rhodes to Gatwick using an A320 and an A321 aircraft totalling 421 additional seats. This is in addition to the nine flights we already have operating between Rhodes and the UK.

“We will also operate a further repatriation flight on Tuesday and continue to keep under review if additional repatriation flights are needed. Any easyJet flight-only customers who have been evacuated from their hotel and are currently at the airport should contact easyJet’s airport staff.

“Any customers wishing to travel back to the UK early can contact easyJet’s customer services team.”

The airline added that customer due to depart for Rhodes up to 29 July can apply for a date change or a flight voucher totalling the amount paid for their original flights, with package holidays up to and including Tuesday 25 July cancelled altogether. easyJet has also encouraged those due to travel to and from the island to regularly check the status of their flights on Flight Tracker.

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It comes after various airlines announced the cancellation of flights to the Greek island in the aftermath of the mass evacuations.

Thomas Cook has become the latest UK airline to cancel flights into Rhodes as wildfires on the island continue to impact tourists and visitors.

The airline confirmed that it has cancelled all package holidays to Lardos and Kiotari, some of the worst hit areas.

In a statement on Twitter, the travel company said: The safety of our customers is paramount, so for anyone who has booked and travelling to hotels in Lardos and Kiotari up to and including 31st July we will be in touch with you and offering a full refund.

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"For customers travelling to other parts of Rhodes on Sunday 23rd July and Monday 24th July we are calling you in departure order to offer a full refund if you wish. For customers due to depart on Tuesday 25 July we will be in touch no later than 6am on Monday 24th to discuss your options."

It comes after airlines TUI and Jet2 announced similar precautions as the wildfires continue to quickly spread throughout the island. Thousands of tourists and visitors have been forced out of their accommodations and left to seek refuge from the infernos on the floor of schools and community centres.

The decision will affect all TUI passengers who are scheduled to fly to the European country from Sunday, 23 July until Tuesday, 25 July . It remains unclear whether or not the cancellations and delays will extend out to the remainder of the week and beyond, as meteorologists warn the Greek blaze could spread further.

All TUI flights to Rhodes have been cancelled from Sunday (23 July) to Tuesday (25 July) - Credit: AdobeAll TUI flights to Rhodes have been cancelled from Sunday (23 July) to Tuesday (25 July) - Credit: Adobe
All TUI flights to Rhodes have been cancelled from Sunday (23 July) to Tuesday (25 July) - Credit: Adobe | russell102 - stock.adobe.com

In a statement announcing the news, TUI wrote on Twitter: "The current wildfires in the southern part of the island affect our operations. If you are currently travelling with us or about to embark on your holiday, please remain available via your mobile and check the TUI app.

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"Customers who are about to travel to the affected parts of Rhodes are proactively contacted by TUI and asked to amend their bookings. The situation in the Southern part of #Rhodes remains volatile and challenging. Due to this and considering the impact on local communities being affected, TUI has decided to cancel all flights and booked holidays to Rhodes for departures up to and incl. Tue, 25 July.

The airline adds: "Customers with arrivals on Wednesday, 26 July can rebook or cancel free of charge. Please contact your original point of booking for further details."

To find out if your TUI flight has been affected by the announcement, contact the airline. For further details on your rights and what compensation you could be entitled to if your Rhodes flight or holiday has been cancelled, read TUI's official cancellation policy.

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