Airline hired to carry out UK-Rwanda refugee deportation flights pulls out

Airline hired to carry out UK-Rwanda refugee deportation flights pulls out
Privilege Style, a Spanish airline that had been hired to run deportation flights from Ukraine to Rwanda, has said in an email to a rights group that it would no longer be part of the scheme.
2 min read
23 October, 2022
Privilege Style is a Spanish airline based in Mallorca [Getty]

The airline hired to deport asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda has reportedly pulled out of the scheme after pressure from rights campaigners. 

Spanish airline Privilege Style said that it will no longer attempt to operate the deportation flights to Rwanda following a campaign from torture survivors and refugee advocates. 

In an email to Freedom for Torture, one of the rights groups promoting the campaign, Privilege Style 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," according to The Guardian. 

An aircraft operated by the Mallorca-based carrier carrying deportees had first attempted to fly to the African nation in June before being stopped by a last-minute ruling from the European Court of Human Rights. 

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Privilege Style, prepared to operate the deportation flights to Rwanda when other airlines had disagreed, had reportedly become known as an 'airline of last resort' for the British government.

It is unclear who the government will turn to operate the deportation flights after Privilege Style’s statement. 

In April this year, the UK government signed a $120 million deal with Rwanda to outsource asylum seekers and refugees to the African nation. The plan was slammed by human rights activists, as it meant that those who had fled conflict and persecution in their home countries and braved dangerous routes to the UK could be deported to Rwanda.