16.Feb.01 - Pilots' association steps up against dportations

The managing board of the powerful German pilots' association "Vereinigung Cockpit" has decided to give new recommendations concerning deportations to their members. Up to now they gave the advice to the pilots to follow the deportation order to avoid difficulties with the employing airlines. Now the recommendations change: Cockpit recommends to ask the deportees in every case, if they agree to be transported. If not, the pilot should refuse the transport.

Cockpit emphasizes, that they have no political reasons for this decision, but they fear criminal proceedings against the pilot in the case of the death or injuries of a deportee (like in Austria and Belgium, as they say). The recommendations has been published in the association's magazine and are available [in german] on the association's website

As most German pilots are members of the association cockpit, the decision of the managing board could have unforeseeable consequences for the deportation.class business. Of course the first step for the authorities will be to book more flights on foreign airlines. But as we experience, also the pilots of KLM, Air France and Sabena are more cautious and often refuse the transport, if someone is shouting for help or something similar happens.

The danger of criminal proceedings against the pilot is founded in
international law (Treaty of Tokio from 1963). We expect that other European Pilots association will follow the example of Cockpit. The refusal to transport deportees against their will, hits the European deportation System at one of its most vulnerable spots and will get it into serious trouble.

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