LONDON – For those that have missed it, last night, a Privilege Style deportation flight was grounded last night at the last minute due to deportee appeals becoming successful.
Around eight passengers were due to be on this flight to Kigali from Boscombe Down, but hours before, the passenger manifest began to decrease.
This was due to the European Court of Human Rights striking injunctions against the flight from transporting the passengers in question.
Around 5-10 minutes before pushback, the final injunction for the final passenger was approved, and the flight was subsequently canceled.
Victory for The Refugees, Massive Loss For The Government…
This has been deemed by protest groups as a massive victory for the refugees, as it gives them more time in the United Kingdom to claim asylum through the courts or by application.
For the government, this has been a massive loss, especially for the Home Secretary Priti Patel, who had this to say on the flight being canceled:
For the taxpayer, this flight came at a cost of around £160,000 per deportee operating the flight, meaning that the waste to the taxpayer is somewhere in the region of £1.2m.
It’s a waste, especially with some sources mentioning that the fee was non-refundable to Privilege Style to operate the flight as well.
What About Privilege Style’s Reputation?
It’s pretty clear that Privilege Style’s reputation has taken a hit from this proposed flight, especially with protestors going as far as going to their headquarters in Palma de Mallorca to speak out against the flight.
The line from the likes of Freedom from Torture and other pressure groups was that Privilege Style operates flights for known carriers across the UK and Europe.
Such an expectation is that the airlines chartering with Privilege Style should suspend contracts over the deportation of refugees, especially when Titan Airways and AirTanker have refused to operate the flights.
That being said, it hasn’t stopped the two carriers from operating such flights.
But for Privilege Style, whilst they have made money from the flight, canceled or not, it will be interesting to see what sort of backlash there will be from the rest of the sector regarding this or whether things are back to normal.
EC-LZO Has Flown Back to Madrid…
According to data from RadarBox.com, EC-LZO, the Boeing 767 that was going to transport the deportees to Kigali has positioned itself into Madrid from Boscombe Down.
The flight would have departed maybe an hour after the news came out that the flight wasn’t going ahead, before arriving in Madrid at 0211 local time.
Of course, it is unclear when the next attempt at a deportation flight will be, especially with the UK Government looking to appeal decisions made by the ECHR.
It is also unclear whether Privilege Style will operate the deportation charter again, particularly with the amount of backlash the airline has received.
For instance, the airline disabled comments on their social media to stop protestors from replying and sending messages. Maybe because of their attempts, they will be chartered for the flights again.
What remains clear is that this flight and the logistics looked set to be a disaster from the moment the flight plan was filed from Boscombe Down.
It is definitely good news that the refugees can stay in the United Kingdom for now, as they can now work on court cases regarding a path to citizenship in the country.
As for Privilege Style, it remains clear that like with the government, they have got a lot of reputational repairs to make, especially with the first flight of a new policy not actually taking off doesn’t look good on either party.