Lifestyle / Travel

Private jet of ultra-wealthy vacationers from UK turned back from going to Cannes

A group of high net worth vacationers flew into Marseille with bags of cash (in order to pay fines for breaking quarantine) to get to a party house in Cannes.

Apr 16, 2020 | By Jonathan Ho

On March 17, when the French president Emmanuel Macron ordered 67 million of his fellow citizens to stay home, allowing only essential activities like exercise, and trips to get food, medicine, or seek medical care. Since then France has been under a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but it hasn’t stopped ultra high net worth individuals from trying their luck and getting into one of the most scenic and arguably most pleasant locations to spend a covid-19 outbreak in isolation: Cannes, along the gorgeous French Riviera.

According to the Guardian, French authorities turned away seven men and three women who arrived at Marseille-Provence airport in an Embraer Legacy private legacy, where three helicopters chartered from a luxury company based in of Le Var were waiting to fly them on to Cannes, where they had rented a luxury villa.

aerial view of the Marseille-Provence airport in Marignane. BORIS HORVAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Private jet carrying ultra-wealthy vacationers turned back from going to Cannes

“They were coming for a holiday in Cannes and three helicopters were waiting on the tarmac. We notified them they were not allowed to enter the national territory and they left four hours later.” – Border police spokesperson to Agence France-Presse

The passengers of Croatian, French, German, Romanian and Ukrainian nationality told Marseille Provence Air Border Police that they were headed to Cannes on the French Riviera but were duly informed that everyone with exception of the French nationals (two men and one woman) among the group would be denied entry.

The flight landed 3pm on April 4 despite Marseille Flight Traffic control informing them that foreigners entering French territory need to have an essential reason to do so under emergency rules, such as medical personnel coming as reinforcements for hospital staff, or individuals transporting medical equipment.

The Croatian national, apparently working in real estate and finance, said that he had chartered the plane and three helicopters, as well as the villa in Cannes, told airport police he had “a lot of money” and wanted “to just pay a fine and go to Cannes.”

“Crossing borders needs a legitimate or urgent reason, travelling to a second home in the country does not qualify.” – Border police spokesperson

The men, aged 40-50, and women, aged 23-25, were denied permission for entry and ordered return to their point of origin in the United Kingdom but they attempted to “make use of their connections and made a few phone calls.”

After failing to make any headway three hours later, six foreign nationals and the three French citizens departed for London at 7pm, while the sole Ukrainian rented a plane to Berlin, ending the whole debacle. Border Police did not charge the passengers or the private jet pilots because they had been turned away while on the tarmac and had not yet legally entered France but the helicopter pilots were fined for breaking the French lockdown rules.

French president Macron set a date yesterday 15 April on the lifting of the nation-wide lockdown. From May 11 onward, he said, quarantine will be “gradually” lifted, starting with nurseries, K-12 schools, and some shops. Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported that the restrictions could continue until the end of May, with schools only reopening with the new academic year in September.

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