Last Saturday, a plane full of travelers was denied entry into France after trying to go on vacation in the south of France. The group was flying a private jet from London to the French Riviera when police refused them entry into the country. Travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic have been extremely tight and all non-essential travel is banned.
Onboard the privately chartered Embraer Legacy jet were seven men and three women headed to a private luxury villa in Cannes. Their itinerary would have them go from London to Marseille-Provence airport, to then board helicopters to their final destination.
According to The Guardian, the men, aged 40-50, and women, aged 23-25, were refused permission to enter France. They were subsequently ordered by authorities to return to the UK. In the group were seven different nationalities including Croatian, German, French, Romanian and Ukrainian.
The jet itself was chartered by a Croatian businessman reported to be in “finance and property”.
“They were coming for a holiday in Cannes and three helicopters were waiting on the tarmac. We notified them they were not allowed to enter the national territory and they left four hours later.” -A border police spokesperson via Agence France-Presse
Sources reported that the group made attempts to utilize some connections, making a few phone calls in hopes of bypassing authorities. However, this was unsuccessful. Furthermore, the helicopter pilots that had been arranged were fined for breaking French lockdown rules and told to return to their base.
BFMTV reports that in the end, nine of the jet passengers made their return to the UK while the 10th chartered a private jet to Berlin.
Why was entry refused?
Since March 17th, all non-essential travel within France has been banned. Furthermore, international travel restrictions have also been in place for non-essential travel. Authorities have made it clear that traveling to a second home is not exempt from these restrictions.
“We are at war – a public health war, certainly but we are at war, against an invisible and elusive enemy…There can be no more outside meetings, no more seeing family or friends on the street or in the park. We must slow the spread of this virus by limiting the number of people we are in contact with each day to the strict minimum. If we do not, we endanger the lives of those we hold dear.” -Emmanuel Macron, President of France
It’s probably quite difficult for the majority of readers to empathize with this group of travelers. The would-be trip seems so different from your average holiday on so many levels as travel in a private jet is not a common method of transport. The closest most people are getting to a private jet these days is boarding a commercial flight that is completely empty.
This combined with the subsequent travel via helicopter to a luxury villa – during a pandemic no less – probably wouldn’t garner much support.
Do you think this group should have been allowed to continue their journey? Let us know in the comments.