A special plane chartered by the UK government to evacuate expats from Bahrain has come back completely empty, with expats choosing to take commercial flights or even to simply stay in the country.
Last week the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a warning to Brits in Bahrain, urging them to leave if they had no serious reason to stay. The FCO then sent out a plane with 160 seats for British nationals to board, however not a single one of those seats were taken.
Official word from the FCO cites a “combination of factors” for the empty flight, thought to be ready availability of commercial flights and also defiant expats who see no reason to leave.
An FCO spokesman stood by the flights, saying: “Arranging charter flights was and remains a sensible precautionary measure, to ensure that people are able to leave Bahrain swiftly following the deterioration in the situation. Our first priority is always the safety and security of British nationals. The first option for leaving Bahrain should remain commercial routes. Commercial flights continue to operate to and from Bahrain and the airport remain open and operating normally.”
However, some expats in Bahrain feel the danger has been exaggerated, speaking to The Telegraph one unnamed British expat remarked: “It's not as bad as Sky news or Al Jazeera make out. I am sure everything will be back to normal soon.”