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Home NATIONAL103 asylum seekers repatriated to Iraq
Fri, 19 Feb, 2016 01:06:52 AM
FTimes-STT Report, Feb 19

The first batch of asylum seekers from Finland returned to Iraq on Thursday morning.

A total of 103 asylum seekers who opted for voluntary repatriation left the Helsinki Airport by a special flight and reached Baghdad smoothly, the Helsiki police said.

“The cooperation with the Iraqi authorities, the flight planning and implementation, as well the arrival in Iraq all went very well,” said Chief Inspector of Police Hannu Pietilä in a statement.

The costs of the return flights vary with distance, the number of passengers and the type of airplane used and the charter flights cost between Euro 20,000 and Euro 200,000.

According to the police, for example, the price for flights back to Albania has fallen below Euro 100,000 each, and Iraqi charter flights cost between Euro 150,000 and Euro 200,000.

“On average, a return flight costs about euro 900 per person,” Pietilä said.

In recent months, seven charter flights have been organised for Albania alone.

Asylum seekers who must return to their countries have three options: they may voluntarily return, they can be supervised by the authorities until they leave, or they may be placed directly on a scheduled or charter plane to their home country.

Scheduled flights may return only a few asylum seekers at a time. Charter flights, however, see an average of 50 returned asylum seekers per flight.

Last year, the police deported a total of 3,180 asylum seekers. A total of 277 asylum seekers were deported in January this year and the number is 20 per cent higher than in the same period of previous year.

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