Cllr Walters arrived safely in Athens this morning. Credit: Wikicommons and Salford City Council

Salford councillor Andrew Walters who was stranded in Israel has escaped to Athens this morning on a flight from Tel Aviv.

Cllr Walters, who represents Kersal and Broughton Park ward, was trapped after fighting broke out between Israel and Palestine.

In a tweet Cllr Walters said: “Just boarded a plane to Athens. Chartered and paid for by a Jewish charity in TN. Their representatives were standing in the airport offering free flights.

“I’ll update when we get to ATH [Athens]. Still no idea how we’ll get home from there, but at least we’ll be out of missile range.”

Cllr Walters and his family boarded a flight chartered by a Jewish Charity in New York and operated by Israeli airline Israir Airlines.

The flight flown by an Airbus A320-200 left Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv at 9:06am and touched down in Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos Airport a couple of hours later at 11:03am.

Cllr Walters will now have to find hiw own way home from the Greek capital to the UK.

As many as 60,000 British nationals were trapped within the country after celebrating the high holy days when the first incursion was launched on October 7

Major airlines including EasyJet, WizzAir and Ryanair suspended flights from the country after fighting began, with many people left struggling in the dangerous conditions.

Since last Thursday the British Government has been chartering flights from Tel Aviv back to the UK for British citizens.

Cllr Walters' aircraft's flight path on return from Tel Aviv. Credit: Screengrab from Flight Radar 24.
Cllr Walters’ aircraft’s flight path on return from Tel Aviv. Credit: Screengrab from Flight Radar 24.

There is still a standard charge to purchase a ticket on a repatriation flight standing at £300, the cost for operating the trip.

The day before the Government announced it would facilitate these flights, Salford councillor Ari Leitner wrote to the Secretary of State to demand action in bringing British citizens home.

Cllr Leitner, who shares the Kersal and Broughton Park ward with Cllr Walters, said: “Thousands of British citizens, including many of whom are my constituents, found themselves stranded in Israel, unable to travel home.

“They are living under constant threat of attack and many are without sufficient safe shelter. Ben Gurion Airport has not been formally closed, however, airlines are continuously canceling flights, leaving those stranded frantically scrounging for seats on the scarce flights available at exorbitant prices.”

The effort continues to bring as many people home to the UK.

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