French authorities took action on a flight carrying 303 Indian passengers from the UAE to Nicaragua after receiving information suggesting potential human trafficking. The Airbus A340, operated by Romania-based Legend Airlines, faced grounding at Vatry airport in eastern France, prompting an investigation and subsequent detention of two passengers.
A lawyer representing Legend Airlines maintained the company’s innocence, stating they believed they had committed no offense. Liliana Bakayoko, speaking on behalf of the airline, asserted that Legend Airlines was fully cooperative with French authorities, ready to assist in the investigation. However, while affirming their cooperation, the airline did not provide an official comment on the situation.
The grounding occurred after French police received a tip and subsequently questioned two individuals, among them being passengers on the flight. Bakayoko noted that the responsibility for verifying passenger identities rested with the customer who chartered the flight, adding that passenger information had been communicated to the airline 48 hours before departure.
Vatry airport, largely serving budget airlines, witnessed the A340’s grounding following its arrival from the UAE. The airport’s authorities and local officials in the Marne department confirmed the aircraft’s immobilization on the tarmac.
French prosecutors’ office conducted identity checks on passengers and cabin crew, probing the transportation conditions and the purpose of their journey. The Indian embassy in France acknowledged the situation and assured that they were investigating while ensuring the well-being of passengers, including minors among them.
French law permits border police to detain foreign nationals for up to 26 days if suspected of involvement in human trafficking. The offense carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in France, highlighting the gravity of the situation.
The case remains under investigation, with authorities focusing on verifying passenger identities and the circumstances surrounding their travel. As the investigation progresses, questions linger about the flight’s intended purpose and the responsibilities of both the airline and the customer who chartered the aircraft.
Sources By Agencies