A group of holidaymakers arriving in the south of France by private jet were turned away by airport police.

Ahead of Easter holy week, the seven men aged between 40 and 50 and three women in their twenties were stopped by airport border police on their way to a private villa outside of Cannes.

The luxury jet which arrived in Marseille airport had come from the UK, reported local media, and was found to have travelled without valid reason during the lockdown.

"Crossing borders is predicated on a legitimate or compelling reason," said a police statement. This can be for reasons of profession with proof or the transport of medical staff, but leisure and holiday travel are not on the list of reasons. "... The rules are similar to those for travel exemptions on the French territory in the context of containment."


Nationalities on board were Croatian, German, French, Romanian and Ukrainian but none were found to have valid reason for travel during the current restrictions.

"Three luxury helicopters were waiting for them on the tarmac to make the journey to the villa," said the head of Marseille-Provenance's border police, but these were not allowed to depart.

The party of ten were dismissed without fines, reports local news site BFMTV, due to the fact they did not "legally enter the country." Half of the party returned in the jet to London, with some taking a separate chartered aircraft to Germany.

This morning French president Emmanuel Macron said the country would be extending lockdown measures until at least 11 May, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month New Zealand reported a "small upswing" in private jet arrivals. Queenstown airport that normally handles around 250 private jet arrivals a year said business was up, reported the Otago Daily Times.

However, the private charter aircraft have been able to outmanoeuvre some travel restrictions that have grounded commercial fleets.

During the first week of moving to Level 4, the Herald revealed that a private jet owned by Saudi national Nasser Al Rashid was granted permission to arrive at Christchurch Airport on 26 March.

Christchurch airport confirmed that the "plane landed after dark last night [the 26th], and was met by officials from the Ministry of Health and all approved protocols were followed."


Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website