Plane for stranded Britons in Egypt


Protesters gather in Tahrir Square, Cairo, calling for Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to stand down (AP)

The Foreign Office is to charter its own flight to ensure Britons are not left stranded in crisis-stricken Egypt.

The move came as Cairo saw its largest protest yet as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators poured into its main square to demand an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

The 200-seater Boeing 757 will fly out on Wednesday and could be followed by further flights if they are necessary.

But the Government said the move was a “belt and braces” approach and insisted most people wanting to get out of the country could do so on commercial flights.

Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, urging his government to “urgently listen to the aspirations of its people”.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “In his calls, the Prime Minister welcomed the restraint the Egyptian army had shown today and emphasised the importance of allowing the protests to take place peacefully.

“The Prime Minister also made very clear that the Egyptian government must now urgently listen to the aspirations of its people. The Prime Minister called for an orderly transition to a broad-based Government, including opposition figures.

“The Prime Minister also said that bold steps were needed to produce real, visible and comprehensive change, with a clear path to free and fair elections.”

The Foreign Office-chartered flight will cost passengers £300 each, about the same as a standard commercial single fare.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said British tourists in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez were advised to leave where possible.

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