VIENNA (Sputnik) — Commenting on media reports criticizing this method of deportation, which is expensive, the ministry said that Hercules flight hours to deport migrants were included into the annual quota of flight hours for these aircraft, which are financed out of the state budget.
"The first C-130 Hercules aircraft with eleven illegal migrants on board landed in Bulgaria today. There were six crew members, a doctor, paramedics, interpreters and human rights employees on board," the ministry said.
In 2015, Austria saw a threefold increase in the number of refugees coming to the country, with some 90,000 applications lodged for asylum. In January, the authorities made a decision to cut the number of refugees admitted per year to 37,500 people. This figure is expected to further decrease. Austria has so far admitted almost two-thirds of its assigned quota of refugees under this limit.
Europe has been beset by a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa to escape violence and poverty. Some 1.8 million illegal border crossings were detected by the EU border agency Frontex in 2015.