Jet setters turned around after landing in the south of France

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A photo taken on March 25 shows an empty street in Cannes, France. Passengers on the plane headed for the city but did not pass Marseille airport. Valery Hache / AFP / Getty Images

(CNN) – A group of international holidaymakers who flew from London to the south of France in a private jet were turned back by French police after their landing.

French border police were informed on April 4 by Marseille Provence airport that an English company wanted to fly a plane from London to Marseille, carrying 10 passengers of Croatian, French, German, Romanian and Ukrainian nationality.

The passengers, seven men aged 40 to 50 and three women who were “about 25 years old,” were on their way to Cannes, a Marseille Provence air border police official told CNN.

France is subject to a national ban to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and foreigners entering French territory must have an essential reason for doing so under emergency rules, such as medical staff coming in to reinforce hospital staff. or people carrying medical equipment.

Police informed the airport that everyone except the French (two men and a woman) would be denied entry, but the flight nonetheless landed around 3:00 p.m. local time on Saturday, said the head of the air border police.

Shortly before the Embraer Legacy plane arrived, three helicopters from a luxury company in the Var region had arrived at the airport, the official said.

The trip was organized by a Croatian national working in real estate and finance, said the head of the air border police, adding that the man had rented the plane and three helicopters, as well as a villa in Cannes. .

He told authorities that he had “a lot of money” and that he wanted to “just pay a fine and go to Cannes,” the official told CNN.

The seven foreigners were denied entry to France by border police, and nine passengers returned to London, including the three French nationals, while a Ukrainian passenger hired a plane to Berlin, the official said.

The meeting ended around 7 p.m. local time, he added.

The air transport gendarmerie fined the three helicopter pilots for traveling without good reason, said the official, since non-essential travel to France is not allowed under the restrictions on coronaviruses.

The border police could not bill passengers or aircraft pilots because they had not yet entered French territory legally, said the head of the air border police.

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