Jet2 is laying on rescue flights in an effort to repatriate holidaymakers facing the prospect of being stranded overseas as countries shut borders to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The low cost carrier has suspended flights to many destinations but is redeploying aircraft to fly people home from abroad.

Governments and local authorities are introducing exceptional measures as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak  which will have a “significant impact” on customers’ holidays.

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy said: “Whilst of course the health and safety of our customers is our number one priority, we are also acutely aware of our responsibility to look after our customers and provide them with the very best experience. 

“In line with guidance from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), as well from governments and local authorities, we have taken the decision to suspend flights to many destinations.

“When customers cannot visit bars, restaurants, shops and ski resorts, or take part in activities such as water sports, we know this is the right thing to do.

“We also know that flying customers back to the UK is the right thing to do.

“With this responsibility in mind, we are continuing to operate our scheduled programme, with aircraft flying empty from the UK so that we can fill them and bring customers home.

“In addition to that programme of scheduled flights, we are putting on extra aircraft to bring customers home, some of who may not have been offered flights home by their airline.”

He added: “This is an enormously fast-moving and complex situation, however customers and independent travel agents can be rest assured that our teams are doing the right thing for them.

“We are contacting our customers who are currently in destination, and who are due to travel, to advise them of their options.

“We urge customers not to call us please, as we are experiencing high call volumes. We will be in touch with our customers based on their planned departure date.

“We recognise that this is an extremely challenging time, and we would like thank all of our customers and independent travel agency partners for their understanding and patience.”