Monday, April 26, 1999 Published at 21:03 GMT 22:03 UK
Kosovo refugees settle in
Locals brought them food and blankets during their first day
By BBC North of England Correspondent Richard Wells
The group of 161, the first to arrive in the UK under the UNCHR evacuation programme, arrived on a chartered flight from Skopje in Macedonia.
A banner saying "Welcome Kosovans" was quickly erected at the entrance to Leeds-Bradford Airport, where the plane touched down.
According to the Refugee Council, who organised the airlift, most of the refugees had lost relatives and loved-ones in their departure from Kosovo.
They had walked for days to the safety of Macedonia and then suffered several weeks of mud and overcrowding in one of the refugee camps erected to house them.
The chief steward Ventislav Shipkaliev spoke briefly to reporters after the plane landed.
He is a veteran of 12 mercy flights from Macedonia to safe havens in several parts of Europe.
In this case, he said, everyone wanted to come to the UK - and there was huge relief and delight when the plane touched down.
What the lenses did not reveal was that only hours before she had been reunited with her father.
Byram Zogjani said he had been separated from his family in Kosovo by Serbian troops and marched with others to a forest.
He feared they would all be killed, but during shooting he escaped and then embarked on a long march to safety.
Adults may seek work
The two centres set up for the refugees have been prepared by Leeds City Council.
The refugees are to receive financial assistance, the 70 children on the flight are being assigned schools to go to, and adults will be able to look for work.
The refugees will be allowed to stay in the UK for the next 12 months.
They could apply for asylum but most have indicated that while they are happy and grateful to be in the UK, they wish to return to their homes in Kosovo once it is safe to do so.