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‘Airline of Last Resort’ Pulls Out of British Government’s Controversial Rwanda Deportation Plan

‘Airline of Last Resort’ Pulls Out of British Government’s Controversial Rwanda Deportation Plan

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An ‘airline of last resort’ has dealt yet another blow to the British government’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as part of a highly controversial policy to offshore the asylum process after it pulled out of a contract to send immigrants to the African country.

Privilege Style, a Spanish charter airline based in Mallorca which operates a fleet of just four aircraft, was believed to be the only private airline willing to take on the Rwanda contract on behalf of the UK’s Home Office which manages immigration.

In June, the Home Office chartered one of Privilege Style’s Boeing 767s along with crew and pilots for what should have been the first such flight to take asylum seekers to be processed in Rwanda.

The aircraft has a capacity for around 264 passengers, but after various legal challenges, just a handful of asylum seekers were actually expected to be onboard the first flight.

The flight was called off at the last minute, however, after the intervention of the European court for human rights in Strasbourg.

Privilege Style has operated other deportation flights on behalf of the British government that other airlines have refused, but after a concerted campaign by a human rights charity called Freedom from Torture, even Privilege Style no longer wants anything to do with the Rwanda flights.

In a letter to the charity, the airline said it “hereby wishes to communicate the following: that it will not operate flights to Rwanda in the future. That it has never flown to Rwanda since the one flight scheduled for June 2022 (which is the reason for this controversy) was suspended.”

Campaigners deluged Privilege Style with more than 16,000 emails, while thousands more swamped the airline’s social media pages and hundreds of calls were placed to its switchboard with demands to stop the deportation flights.

The same campaign group has already convinced two British charter airlines – Titan Airways and AirTanker to refuse to do Rwanda separation flights.

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