In the complex story about Legend Airlines. donkey flight, whose plane was supposedly taken for a ‘donkey flight’ and then stopped in France, the legal representative says that most passengers had reservations for places to stay and return tickets from Nicaragua—the supposed final stop according to the company. Official sources say that out of the 303 passengers, a huge 299 were from India. The grounding happened after an anonymous tip about potential human trafficking victimization.
Insiders, talking through news agency AFP, suggest a possible link between the plane and a criminal group trying to illegally move people into the United States. Nicaragua, a country in Central America, has seen more Indians trying to enter the US without permission.
In an interview with NDTV on a Tuesday, Liliana Bakayoko, the legal rep of Romania-based Legend Airlines, explained, “As the company’s lawyer, my colleagues in court said all the people they defended had return tickets and hotel reservations. I don’t have the exact timeframe, but it wasn’t expected to be the next day.”
But when faced with info that only 12 out of 303 passengers had return tickets, Bakayoko said, “The company’s plane was hired by a foreign group for these flights. According to my colleagues in France, almost all the passengers they represented had return tickets and hotel reservations. However, the judge only heard from three passengers.”
Now, the ‘Peculiar Situation.’ After the plane landed in France’s Vatry for refueling, Bakayoko explained a unique problem. The crew got orders to leave the airport, go to a hotel, and wait as witnesses. This meant leaving the passengers. The Captain had to decide, torn between duty to passengers and following orders.
Two hours later, the crew got summoned, feeling anxious due to the lack of clarity. Bakayoko guided them through lengthy interrogations, leading to their release. But the plane still faced seizure, causing uncertainty. Though the plane was eventually released, passengers remained stuck. A choice was made to watch what happens.
Airport hearings followed. Judges, with lawyers, held three hearings at the airport. The judges, noting procedural issues, mentioned French law needing proper notification of detainee rights, with translators for non-French speakers. Lack of translators and delayed notice made the judge see the detention as irregular. French authorities then let all passengers go.
More issues came up as some passengers didn’t want to go to India, where the plane landed on a Tuesday. India agreed quickly, but the UAE and Nicaragua reportedly said no. With most passengers being Indian, the Indian Embassy and French authorities hurried permits for 276 passengers to fly to India. The rest sought asylum.
Interestingly, Ms. Bakayoko talked about the mysterious client chartering the flight from Dubai to Nicaragua. This foreign group, not European, checking passports, tickets, and visas, stayed mysterious about who they are. Asked if the same client chartered other flights to Nicaragua, Bakayoko confirmed but didn’t have immediate data on how many Indians were on those flights.
‘Donkey flights‘ is a term for a method used by some migrants, going through countries with loose travel document rules, making it easier to reach their final destinations.