The Government is hoping to bring back Britons from coronavirus-hit Wuhan in China on Friday and will take them to an NHS facility in the North West.
The flight, which has not yet been given permission to leave by Chinese authorities, could land at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Passengers will then be taken to an NHS facility in the North West for a quarantine period of 14 days, sources told PA.
It comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) emergency committee is expected to declare an international public health emergency during its meeting on Thursday.
The Government has been negotiating with Chinese authorities over permission for a flight to leave Wuhan, after one planned for Thursday was stopped.
Downing Street said the UK was working "urgently" with Chinese authorities on Thursday to ensure citizens in Wuhan can return on a flight "as soon as possible".
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We are doing everything we can to get British people in Wuhan safely back to the UK.
"A number of countries' flights have been unable to take off as planned including the British repatriation from Wuhan.
"We are working urgently with the Chinese authorities to ensure that the flight can take off as soon as possible."
But the plane has been prevented from leaving China because "we haven't got the necessary clearances and we are working with the Chinese authorities on securing those", the spokesman said.