Scheduled Takeoff on Monday, December 25th

Passengers from India have been held in the waiting zone at Paris-Vatry airport since December 21 and will soon be departing. The seizure of the plane was lifted on the morning of December 24. A departure to India is scheduled for the morning of December 25.

The Airbus A340 of Legend Airlines, which landed at Paris-Vatry airport on December 21 with 303 Indian passengers on board, is set to take off again amidst suspicions of human trafficking.

The seizure of the aircraft, carried out as part of a judicial investigation, was lifted on Sunday, December 24 morning, as indicated by the prefecture of Marne in a statement. This decision “allows for the consideration of the passengers’ redirection,” it said. The competent authorities of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) are working to obtain the necessary authorizations for the plane’s takeoff. This should happen “at the latest on Monday morning,” December 25, according to the prefecture.

By the end of the day, it was observed that the aircraft, immobilized on the tarmac since Thursday, December 21, was being prepared. The latest information obtained indicates that its destination will be Mumbai, India, with takeoff scheduled for 10 am on Monday, December 25.

The fate of the passengers is still in question. All passengers are expected to depart, except those who wish to apply for asylum. These individuals will have to be interviewed by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra) as part of a border procedure.

The situation for passengers is being examined on a case-by-case basis by four judges of freedom and detention since Sunday morning. In the first three decisions made on Sunday, passengers had their placement in the waiting area cancelled.

They explained that they were going to Nicaragua for tourism. They have official documents, a passport, and provided proof of a return date and hotel accommodations,” said François Procureur, the bâtonnier of Châlons-en-Champagne, during a press briefing after the initial hearings.

Since December 21, all passengers from the flight arriving from the United Arab Emirates have been placed in the waiting area at the airport. Their aircraft, an Airbus A340 of Legend Airlines, was intended for a technical stop at the airport in Marne. However, an anonymous tip triggered the immobilization of the aircraft. There is a “suspicion of organized human trafficking,” according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

According to a source close to the case, these Indians, likely workers in the United Arab Emirates, could have planned to travel to Central America in an attempt to enter the United States or Canada illegally. The group includes eleven unaccompanied minors, according to the prosecutor.

Two Indians were placed in custody on Friday to “verify if their role may have been different from the others in this transport,” a measure that was extended the following day. The investigation, conducted by the National Jurisdiction for Combating Organized Crime (Junalco), is ongoing.

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