French border police turned away a private jet and its 10 British passengers bound for a luxury Cannes resort, The Guardian reports. The passengers were allegedly ignoring coronavirus social distancing orders and bans on international travel.
Ten wealthy travelers appear to have contracted the jet to take the seven men aged between 40 and 50 and three women aged between 23 and 25 from London to Marseille-Provence airport. From there, three chartered helicopters were to take them on a short flight to a luxury villa in Cannes, in France’s tony Mediterranean Côte d’Azur. The Embraer Legacy jet had reportedly been rented by a Croatian businessman “in finance and property.”
As it turns out, the French authorities weren’t having it.
“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,” said a French border-control spokesperson.
The tourists, whose nationalities reportedly included Croatians, Germans, French, Romanians, and Ukrainians, apparently weren’t interested in being told they couldn’t land and tried to “make use of their connections and made a few phone calls,” in order to try to be allowed to stay.
They were unsuccessful, and after a few hours, they turned back to London, except for one, who chartered a flight to Berlin.
As for the helicopter pilots on the ground, they were ordered to return to their bases, but not before being fined for violating France’s coronavirus lockdown rules.
France, like many other countries, has imposed strict rules to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Those restrictions include banning international travel into the country — unless the traveler has documentation that proves that the reason for their trip to France is essential.
“Crossing borders needs a legitimate or urgent reason,” a police representative said.
A spokesperson back in Britain also reminded would-be vacationers that international travel for its own sake, such as to a second home, is off the table until further notice.
Meanwhile, French police plan to be busy during the upcoming Easter holiday weekend, closely monitoring incoming private aircraft in what would otherwise be a hectic holiday weekend.
The matter of wealthy people trying to head to vacation properties during the coronavirus pandemic is not limited to Europe.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, wealthy individuals in New York City who either own or have the means to rent summer homes have been attempting to escape the densely-packed, coronavirus-ravaged city for smaller communities. However, those communities reportedly don’t want them, and some have closed themselves off to out-of-town travelers, citing the need to limit the spread of the virus, as well as the strain on their already-limited resources.