big bosses in private jets despite restrictions

The confinement did not have the same flavor for everyone. This is confirmed with a survey of World, which takes us first to the Saint-Malo Dinard terminal. We are May 16, France is slowly deconfining itself, but travel remains limited to 100 km around home. Suddenly, we see the Rolls of helicopters land: a shiny black AgustaWestland 139.

Those who descend from it tread the track as regulars: this is Martin Bouygues and his wife. In their aerial car, they have just made Paris Saint-Malo in just one hour, instead of four and a half hours by road.

They share this star helicopter with another CAC40 dynasty: the Pinaults, at the head of the luxury group Kering. The two clans each have a villa in this corner of Brittany. What was Martin Bouygues doing in Brittany on May 16? "Business trip," he said, without giving further details.

We obviously work a lot in the upper echelons. During the lockdown, almost all commercial flights were canceled. But by April 15, private jets made a quarter of their usual flights, and half by mid-May, two weeks before the restrictions were lifted. Calculation of World which had access to the flight data of some 800 aircraft.

A minimum control

Yet it was easy to control them, these jet travelers. They were alone in the world, freed from the floods of low cost travelers. Control was carried out by the air transport gendarmerie, with the PAF and customs. But it was a minimum control : we just check that the travel certificate has been completed and that passengers have proof from their employer or a medical certificate.

Field workers admit: "We had no way of verifying that the trip was really necessary, especially if these are bosses who have their own company certified. Those who were turned away, they say, were people who had made no effort"to hide that he was traveling for pleasure.

Like these businessmen who landed in Marseille at the beginning of April with three very charming young women. They spoke first of a business trip, then of a family trip, with nanny and cook. In short, businessmen on a spree with their escorts-girls. They were sent back to London.

Some have had better luck. As this frame of LVMH, confined to his second home in the South-West and who made two round trips to Paris Biarritz in March-April aboard the luxury group jet. "Compelling professional reasons," says LVMH. And very light checks, says an anonymous source at Le Bourget.

All means are good to cover the tracks

Others have found a good trick to avoid checks: appear as a crew member of their jet, and not as a passenger. This is what the industrialist Jean-Pierre Barjon did on a Paris Cannes, on May 20. On paper, he's a pilot, and his jet is officially traveling empty. On his return, three days later, only his mother appeared to be a passenger.

"In this case," said an agent, "we consider that as technical flights, or taxi flights, which will look for someone. So we do not control them as a priority." He will be back on May 29. "This time it was a real little summer camp," the agent said, "half a dozen passengers … But What is the point of getting into trouble a few days before the restrictions end?"

All means are good to overcome the rule: send flight plans late, or send multiple, to various destinations to confuse the issue … Like this Parisian entrepreneur who says he is going to Perpignan for work, and who leaves his plane an hour later: destination: Ibiza. Officially, it is empty.

The complete survey to be found in The world today, and on lemonde.fr.

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