ALL PRIVILEGE - NO STYLE : Immoral Rwanda flight to go ahead
13 June 2022
Protests are planned across the country on the eve of the government’s first refugee deportation flight to Rwanda, with only one airline - Spanish run Privilege Style, agreeing to take part.
The Court of Appeal has ruled that the UK Government can deport asylum seekers to Rwanda tomorrow (Tuesday).
Eight asylum seekers who sought sanctuary in the UK are due to be on board, down from an original number of over 100. Their claims for sanctuary have never been considered in the UK. Nothing is known about the countries they have fled, or their background of torture.
It is understood that the Spanish airline Privilege Style will deport the asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda on Tuesday 14th of June 2022 at 10.30 pm from Stansted Airport. All other charter companies have ruled themselves out of the Rwanda deportations. But Privilege Style is the only airline to agree to deport on behalf of the UK Government.
Privilege Style is a well known profiteer from deportation flights, that is available at two hours' notice. The airline’s owner Chema Alvarez appears to have no conscience about transporting asylum-seekers against their will, many of whom have been tortured, injured, exploited and trafficked already.
The company's involvement in deportation flights from various EU countries has drawn criticism from human rights activists, accusing Alvarez of sending people to their deaths.
Privilege Style was involved in the deportation of Jamaicans from the UK on the 2nd of December 2020 - many of whom have lived in the UK since childhood – children and grandchildren of the Windrush generation.
Last-minute social media appeals did not stop the company from proceeding with the deportation to Kingston – although thanks to legal interventions it only carried 13 people, 37 fewer than originally planned. On 2 December, it is believed that Privilege Style was brought in at the last minute as a “deporter of last resort”, after other airlines pulled out. The company claims to be available at just two hours’ notice.
Since 2020, the Spanish charter airline has operated ALL deportation charter-flights from Germany to Afghanistan, the unsafest country in the world, thereby profiting from endangering human lives.
The airline also carried out a charter from Sweden, Norway and Spain involving the deportation of 31 people to Nigeria and Ghana – reportedly shackled in leg chains.
In 2017, when the refugee crisis was still in the news, Privilege Style ran a controversial Frontex-chartered deportation to Afghanistan from Sweden and Austria.
Any airline that collaborates with removing refugees to Rwanda will be forever tarred by their association with this cruel and dangerous policy – and likely in violation of the UN guiding principles on business and human rights.
We urge ALL airlines to stand on the right side of history and rule themselves out of removal flights.
Who is privilege style?
Privilege Style lists 220 people on their payroll. But there is just one boss: Chema Álvarez, full name José Manuel Álvarez, president and owner of the airline and its parent company Empty Leg.
Alvarez got his break thanks to his father’s connections with Spain’s dynastic tourist industry. Privilege Style operates wide-body aircraft. The company currently has a fleet of four planes: two Boeing 757s, one B767 (leased from DAE Capital) and one B777 (leased from Boeing Capital). It has also recently ordered a fifth plane, an Airbus A321-200.
The planes are old, bought second-hand from more prestigious airlines. Online customer reviews complain of broken seats, planes “from 1990”, “antiquated aircraft”, and “tired” interiors.
The company’s LinkedIn lists some of its customers including airlines, holiday tour operators, sports teams, and big companies. Charter firms like Privilege Style play an important role in the aviation industry – acting as a carrier of last resort that can lease planes to bigger brand name airlines when they are short on capacity. Trade press reports and online passenger reviews suggest that Norwegian and Tui are two of Privilege Style’s main customers.
Another big part of its business, and the one it most likes to publicise, is flying big league sports teams. Its publicity and social media accounts are full of pictures showing Privilege planes decorated with stick-on logos for Spanish football clubs. Sevilla FC and Atlético de Madrid appear to be the most frequent customers. Other teams who have recently hired Privilege planes include:FC Barcelona, RealMadrid, Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal CF, Getafe FC, RC Celta, and the basketball teams Saski Baskonia and Valencia Basket.
Some of their clientele may not be so comfortable using an airline that tears families apart and deports people in leg shackles.
Privilege Style seem happy to act as the Government’s deporter of last resort. The airline is a last-minute charter airline with a fleet of just four ageing second-hand planes.
Protests in London are planned outside the Home Office on Marsham Street at 5.30pm, and outside Downing Street at 6pm.
In Nottingham, a rally is planned starting at the Brian Clough statue, near Old Market Square, from 4.30pm.
A gathering is planned for Tuesday evening in Glasgow, with protesters meeting at 6pm in George Square.
A rally outside Brook House immigration removal centre on Sunday saw protesters shaking the outer fence of the detention centre while detainees chanted from inside NO RWANDA.
The Home Office describes Rwanda as a “safe and stable” country, and says the scheme will save lives.
CALL TO ACTION:
Write to your MP: Use this template letter (Google docs) and www.write to them.com
Write to PRIVILEGE's Chema Alvarez - in your own words - and call on him to halt the Rwanda flights and any further involvement in these immoral deportations.
Send to all the emails below ⬇️. Remember to copy us in: email@example.com
See also: Corporate Watch