View Full Version : Forced repatriation to Afghanistan (merged)

28th Apr 2003, 20:19
I read that a number of "illegal" immigrants are being forcibly removed from the UK over the next few days. They will be "restrained" during their flight.

How does an airline get involved in this work, and are the crew volunteers?

28th Apr 2003, 20:35
Is this any different from prison transport in the US? I think marshals travel with, and are responsible for restraining them, whether on a charter or commercial, or govt owned plane.

28th Apr 2003, 20:38
Bubette, I see the difference that inter-prison transport in the States is part of the "norm". This exercise is a series of "one-offs", and therefore there would appear to be no precedent.

28th Apr 2003, 20:46
Really? No one has ever been deported from the UK? People definitely have been deported from the US, forceful or not.

28th Apr 2003, 20:56
Bubette, just to clarify, these flights are for the exclusive use of the enforced repatriation, and I understand initiated by UK Home Office.

Of course individuals have been repatriated before, but usually individually. The first of these flights is alleged to be carrying 35 people, who will be "strapped to their seats" during the flight.

"Medical personnel and 15 security guards wearing stab-proof vests, will accompany the group. Hence my original question, are the crew volunteers, and what airline is used for such an exercise?

LGW Vulture
29th Apr 2003, 15:19
Don't know much surrounding this particular charter from LGW last night, but BBC news showed forced repatriation of Afghanis on an Air Luxor (767 I think) aircraft.

Good to see that when the charter industry is on its knees in this country, the flight goes to a Portuguese operation.

Overpriced again no doubt.

Someone fill me in out of interest please.


Aviation Trainer too
29th Apr 2003, 15:54
Great to see some good old patriotism LGW ! Just some random points:

A) The biggest brokers are in the UK while selling al over Europe. Does that mean I can say "another Ripping of Europe deal!"

B) I don't think everybody wants to fly to Kabul or surroundings.

C) Ad hoc charters are always priced to reflect the fact that there is no continuity. Thus higher but therefor not overpriced!

D) I saw a few Brittania flights in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, the bastards, while the Dutch Charter industry is on its knees... Get a live this is a Global market!

E) Air Luxor has probably more costs associated as they have to position aircraft and crew from further away... if that is the case are the UK carriers than not the ones who are overpriced..

F) Dutch repatriation flights are also done by tender and are maybe flown by, good forbid, UK carriers...

Other than that I fully agree with your topic :)

29th Apr 2003, 16:00
From today's reports it appears that the first flight was by Air Luxor, departing from Gatwick.

Wonder how many press went to Stansted, which was previously "departure of the day".

29th Apr 2003, 16:07
One paper has cost of yesterday's exercise at 130k. Not clear whether this was just for flight costs, or also included extra security. Don't think Air Luxor have a 767, only showing as Airbus or Tri-star for this range.

Started another thread on this yesterday, asking whether the crew would be "volunteers".


Happy to have moderator combine these.

LGW Vulture
29th Apr 2003, 17:39
...Trainer Too.

Not being patriotic in the slightest actually. If you look at the myriad of moanings from charter drivers on this forum, then they should be asking their commercial teams why they allow a nice little earner go elsewhere. As you so rightly pointed out, positioning for a UK operator would / should have been far more cheap.

I'm the biggest protagonist of globalisation and have a wonderful life already thanks.

Call Established
29th Apr 2003, 18:04
Well, if it was 130k seems a cheap price to pay for sending 30 of them back!

Perhaps you could do a paper exercise as to the cost of keeping, feeding, housing etc... for 30 of them together with them producing another 30 and them producing another 30 say over the next 100 years...

I think you will find that the 0's out weigh the 0's on the end of 130,000k ALOT!

Cheap price to pay !

Rather my tax money go on widebody charter to Kabul than keeping them here.

Look forward to many more perhaps the UK spare capacity market could really hot up thanks to this.

We get to send them back, save a load of money and keep our aircraft flying and crews in jobs!



tony draper
29th Apr 2003, 19:04
Were they to fly everybody in this country illegally and all the economic migrants and phony asylum seekers back to where they belong, it would be a boom time for the airline industry, it would keep them busy for years.

30th Apr 2003, 01:02
An Air Luxor TriStar was at LGW late last night.



30th Apr 2003, 01:16
All of this business is 'supposed' to come out in competitive tenders. However this is not always the case it appears - If 130K was paid then the UK Govt have been 'ripped off', but as I said if the tender process is a 'closed shop' what can the UK charter Airlines do about it if overseas carriers are 'giving it away' if they have no business!!!

Interesting that the LXR L1011 was allowed to operate given that an A320 was impounded in LTN earlier in the day over payment problems!!!

im going in
30th Apr 2003, 03:23


30th Apr 2003, 21:37
Asking around I hear that many airlines don't want the downside of flying this sort of passenger, and our airline doesn't want the negative publicity associated; there have been crews refusing to operate them, and the flights can have operational pitfalls attached. I think they are widely tendered amongst the euro airlines so I don't think it's a closed shop; our experience of UK Gov is they canvass thoroughly for their work and only the cheapest get the biz. Does that mean the portugese have lower costs? maybe, but similarly as others have said, the Britsh charter airlines seem to pick up work all over europe so its presumably all fair in love and war, although I doubt our friends in France/Germany were bidding on war flights....

surely not
1st May 2003, 05:29
Call Established I find your xenaphobia inappropriate for this forum. Most of the asylum seekers are fleeing because of real hardships and danger in their own countries. We possibly have many more home grown shysters and cheats claiming false benefits and cheating on their taxes than there are bogus asylum seekers.

The British carriers that have availability are getting a fair chance to bid and win business from the MOD at the moment, plus there are several UK Charter carriers performing repatriation flights to other areas of recent conflicts such as Croatia etc. The norm is for security guards to travel with the more volatile pax using procedures much the same as the procedures for escorting prisoners.

There are some destinations where UK airlines will not slip crews for safety and security reasons, but other nationalities might feel differently.

The original point about why Uk carriers appear not to be getting the work is valid, but lets leave the bigotry off the site.

BAe 146-100
1st May 2003, 05:37

Air Luxor's fleet currenty consists of:

. Airbus A320-200
. Airbus A330-200
. Lockheed L1011-500
. Airbus A319-100

Air Luxor Fleet (http://www.airluxor.com/fo/enu/fleet.asp)

BAe 146-100

im going in
1st May 2003, 06:39
Could a UK carrier object to Air Luxor carrying out these flights, due to the capacity being there, but being beaten on price?

1st May 2003, 16:20
for a normal charter, yes, because its a non UK airline operating a flight from the UK to a place outside the EU so under normal circumstances you could object. However Govt and MOD charters work on 'best value' so that even in times of war or crisis the Agency involved has to get best value for the taxpayer for the job. if uk Carriers want to play the game they have to be competitive. 130K is only a rumoured amount and to be honest this is cheap for an L10 to Kabul, I think the chances are most reputable UK airlines wouldnt touch it with a bargepole due adverse PR and potential security risk etc. And you'll probably find that most 'Establishment' UK Ops Directors will still be a bit precious about sending a/c to Kabul.

1st May 2003, 16:35
im going in, (and others),

Whether the UK charters want the work or not is a risk assessment. My company took one or two loads of soldiers eastbound earlier in the year, but then decided that it would do no more, even though there was the work and we had the capacity.

Air luxor may have been the only people willing to do it !

1st May 2003, 20:00
I have flown a few of these repatriation flights. Not in the U.K. but I have flown some Chinese from Australia (Port Headland)back to China, and before Hong Kong reverted to the Chinese, I flew some Vietnamese from Hong Kong back to Hanoi.

We were not volunteers. We just had a flight on our roster from Kai Tak to Noibai etc.

Security was a lot different from usual.
For every two 'returnees' there was one security guard. These guards were all built like brick outhouses and were more than ready to deliver the returnees to their destination in a less - than - perfect condition.

On one memorable occasion on the Hong Kong - Hanoi run, CNN, BBC etc were allowed about 20 meters from the aircraft to film the boarding of the pax.
The pax arrived at the remote bay in a bus. They all had their wrists bound using 'plasticuffs'. They were taken one at a time from the bus, up the stairs and to their seat, then sat into the seat with the belt fastened.
It was slow, but going smoothly. UNTIL...
one of the returnees saw the T.V. crews. He started screaming and shouting and struggling etc. for the chance to be on the news that night.
Two guards grabbed him.
One each side.
They grabbed him by his trouser belt, and his collar.
And threw him up the stairs.
He landed halfway up the stairs (with a dull thud).
The guards then grabbed him again and threw him once more and this time he landed aboard the aircraft (a widebody Boeing).
No one else opted for the chance of stardom.

These returnees from Hong Kong were given US$25 by the U.N. as an incentive to return to Vietnam. As they landed in Hanoi, they all had to pay an arrivals fee of (surprise surprise) US$25.

The flights were non eventful. Most of the passengers had never been in an aircraft before and were enjoying what for them will probably be a once in a lifetime experience.
One passenger did try to slit his wrists on the lid of the arm rest cigarette ash tray, but before he could spill blood, the security guards made him see the error of his ways.

I know the U.N. did check up on quite a few of the returnees to check they weren't persecuted. All that happened to them was that they came out of the airport arrivals area and were left. When they asked "how can I get from the airport back to my home town ?" the reply was "you found your own way from Vietnam to Hong Kong, use that same ingenuity to get from Hanoi to your home."

Some pilots in the company did have personal moral problems about doing these charters and asked not to be rostered on them (and they weren't), but most of us just saw them as another day's work.

Colonel Blink
2nd May 2003, 07:36
So if there were 30 'passengers' plus 15 security, why opt for an L1011? Checking here (http://gc.kls2.com/cgi-bin/gc?PATH=lgw-kbl%0D%0A&RANGE=&PATH-COLOR=red&PATH-UNITS=mi&SPEED-GROUND=&SPEED-UNITS=kts&RANGE-STYLE=best&RANGE-COLOR=navy&MAP-STYLE=) the distance is well withing the range of a half loaded 752.

Wouldn't it have been cheaper to use a narrow bodied aircraft?