Air France – Image Issues


According to Vincent Fertey’s report in Le Figaro (11 July ’07), Air France personnel are concerned about Air France’s image when it comes to deporting illegal aliens back to their homelands.

But it goes deeper than bad publicity, some flight staff find it downright traumatic. Now that Air France has been privatized, does this mean that the French government will have to use its own jets to deport aliens? Approximately 6000 were deported in 2006. Of those 6000, 4.6% proved to be the source of ‘difficulties’ according to immigration minister, Brice Hortefeux.

Air France is not the first airlines to pose the question of whether they should be responsible for deporting illegal aliens. Air Canada no longer carries such passengers.

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The European Union appears to have an interesting dilemma these days – by becoming a union, they’ve dropped most of the normal border checks between sovereign nations within the EU (except between European members and UK). (Even there, if you’re traveling from France to UK by Eurostar, the customs/identification check is brief).

Two summers ago, we flew from Seoul, Korea to Paris with a plane change in Frankfort. There was no immigration check in Frankfurt upon our arrival because our final destination was Paris. There was no immigration check in Paris because we had arrived on a domestic EU flight from Frankfurt. One passenger who appeared to be making her first trip from Korea to Paris looked quite flabbergasted that she had flown all this distance without a passport check since departing from Korea. I was surprised too and we travel a lot.

Needless to say for travelers, one less line to wait in is greatly appreciated. EU without borders and one currency is something close to heaven (for travelers, but maybe not for immigration ministers!)