On December 22, 2023, an Airbus A340 belonging to Romanian-charter Legend Airlines was flying from Fujairah to Nicaragua in Central America. As the aircraft lacks the range, it stopped at Paris Vatry Chalos International Airport in France for a technical halt. In Paris, the aircraft was detained by French authorities on charges of human trafficking.
Aircraft Returned to Mumbai
The Airbus A340 belonging to Legend Airlines, which was detained at Paris Airport has finally been allowed to leave after a long gap of 3 days. The aircraft flew from Vatry Chalos Airport to Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on December 26. Earlier, the aircraft had 303 passengers onboard. 2 Indians were detained in France on charges of illegal activities. Their detention has been extended by another 48 hours. 25 passengers including a minor seeked asylum. Remaining 276 passengers were allowed to leave for India.
The 25 passengers including 5 minors seeking asylum are still in France. When someone requests asylum, it usually means that they are abroad—in this case, in France—and that they wish to apply for protection from the law because they fear being persecuted or harmed back home. Through the official process of applying for asylum, people can seek refugee status and safety from their host country.
Legend Airlines Airbus A340 detained
The Airbus A340 bearing registration – YR-LRE was detained by French Authorities at Paris secondary airport. More than 300 passengers were onboard the aircraft with most of them originating from India. More than 60 passengers were from Gujarat State. The Indian Embassy in France started investigation on charges of human trafficking. It said that the investigation is being done to assure the well being of Indian citizens.
A detailed judicial investigation was launched after authorities received an anonymous tip-off. Authorities had suspicion of human trafficking activities. The National Anti-organised Crime Unit of France, JUNALCO engaged in the investigation. As per reports from BBC, these people were illegal migrants – who were trying to enter America illegally using the Central American route.
For a period of 3 days, passengers and aircraft both were on ground. For convenience of passengers, the arrival hall of Vatry Chalos Airport was converted into a waiting area with convertible beds. Passengers were provided with proper food facilities at the airport. There were many minors in the flight.
A growing number of people who wants to enter US in search of asylum now go to Nicaragua. Data released by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) indicates that in the fiscal year 2023, up to 96,917 Indians attempted to enter the country illegally, a 51.61 percent increase from the year before.
According to CBP data, at least 41,770 of those Indians made an attempt to enter the US through the land border with Mexico. ‘Dunki’ flights are now commonly used to refer to flights to third countries or Nicaragua where obtaining travel documents is not difficult.