The Austrian way of deportations

17.Mar.01 - In many european countries campaigns against different airlines that are carrying out deportations are realized at the moment (British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Iberia). That campaigns are combined under the name Deportation-Class. In Germany the campaign succeeded in inducing the German Pilots Association to give a statement which says, that they refuse to transport persons, that are obviously not willing to be deported. At present the Austrian Cockpit Association (ACA) prepares a comment on that statement.

In Austria deportations are carried out by the ministry of interior. According the law airlines have to take deportees and to transport them. They do not have the right to refuse transporation, only the right to reject the passenger if his or her behaviour impairs security on board. Austrian Airlines (AUA), Lauda Air and Tyrolean Airways are carrying deportees only if they are guarded by the police. 2.889 out of totally 10.442 deporations form Austria in the year 1998 were carried out by aircraft.

Since 1994 the Austrian ministry of interior has an agreement with the travel agency TOUROPA AUSTRIA about the centralized acquisition of flying-tickets for deportees. TOUROPA AUSTRIA is booking flights fast and to cheapest rates. TOUROPA AUSTRIA is part of GULET TOUROPA TOURISTIK (GTT). In February 2000 GTT was bought by the German TUI-Travel Agency. AUSTRIAN AIRLINES is owning 25 percent of the shares.

After the death of Marcus Omofuma on May 1st 1999 new "guidelines for organisation and implementation of deportations by air" came into effect. According that guidelines so-called "problematic deportations" shall be carried out only by charter-machines. There are efforts in whole Europe to organise common charter-deportations. The first charter-deportation from Austria has been carried out on June 24th 1999 with a Lear-Jet of the INTERNATIONALE FLUGRETTUNGSDIENST AUSTRIA (IFRA).
The Ministry of interior is not favouritely working together with the "national carrier" (the Austrian air-companies). According to a speaker of the ministry of interior the cooperation with the Austrian air-companies is very good but they do not fly toward enough relevant destinations, Therefore they are booking "direct and cheap flights as possible" on the free market.

On december 4th 2000 some activists succeeded in preventing the deportation of the nigerian citizen Anthony Onyeij, who was to be deported with an aircraft of KLM from Vienna-Schwechat. Immediately after his deportation had been prevented he was brought to the regional court in Korneuburg near of Vienna. At time he is in pending trial because of "resistance against state authorities".
Only if the image of flight-companies and travel agencies is in danger, they will relinguish deportations business.

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