Foreign criminals and failed asylum seekers are being flown home at vast expense on half-empty private jets.
One special flight costing around £250,000 carried a lone Moroccan deportee.
Further ‘con air’ examples include the use of an entire airliner to return 11 Afghan illegals to Kabul and a 265-seat plane taking just 25 Nigerians home.
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In the 18 months to June, the Home Office has spent £14million on the chartered planes. Scheduled flights for immigrants who agree to be deported are thought to have cost £30million more.
The figures – obtained under freedom of information laws – follow the revelation that a £3,000 Hummer stretch limousine was used to ferry refugees from Heathrow to their new home in Manchester.
At least 54 private jets were used to carry 2,892 deportees – an average of 53 per plane. The cost per passenger of nearly £5,000 would cover a first-class air ticket half way around the world.
The revelations prompted Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, to demand answers from immigration minister James Brokenshire.
He said: ‘These are astonishing figures for a Government department that is facing huge cuts.
‘A half-empty flight is a waste of money and shows a woeful lack of competence and organisation. Ministers really need to get a grip.’
Ministers are desperate to try to increase the number of illegal immigrants they deport because borders have become a top concern for voters.
Each specially chartered plane is estimated to cost around £250,000 – meaning the bill is at least £13.5million. Destinations include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jamaica, Nigeria and Albania.
In many cases there are fears that the deportees could turn disruptive once it becomes clear they are being booted out of the UK. Ministers also argue that they have to use chartered flights because of a lack of scheduled services.
The secret deportation flights, which do not show up on departure boards, often carry two or three immigration and security officers for each passenger in case of trouble in the air.
Ministers insist chartered jets are cost effective at a time when the Home Office is being asked make cuts of up to 40 per cent.
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