Top universities will charter flights for Chinese students to get to the UK next month as travel restrictions continue.
Universities are worried Covid restrictions could undermine their income from overseas students.
More than 50 UK universities have chartered four flights to bring in 1,200 Chinese students ahead of a new university term next month, The Sunday Times has reported.
Universities have organised airport transfers between Heathrow and campuses including Russell Group institutions like Exeter and Bristol.
Students will have to isolate for ten days on arrival under current travel rules, with universities organising accommodation and food supplies.
Chinese students provide nearly a fifth of all tuition fee income in the UK, worth an estimated £1.3bn every year.
Institutions with a high proportion of overseas students were struggling with flight availability, according to Vivienne Stern, international director for Universities UK.
“Universities are also going to have to deal with students who can’t come to the UK for the start of their course. They are making provision for online learning and multiple start dates,” Stern said.
Direct commercial flights from mainland China to the UK have been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns.
International education organisation Into HE is working with universities to hire flights, which will depart from Hong Kong, on the UK’s green list.