• France's news in English
'Air Cocaine' affair: Pilot unions urge boycott
French pilot unions are urging members to boycott the Dominican Republic over the arrest of two colleagues on drug smuggling charges. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

'Air Cocaine' affair: Pilot unions urge boycott

AFP/The Local · 26 Feb 2014, 08:53

Published: 26 Feb 2014 08:53 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

France's main pilots' union on Tuesday called for French commercial airline pilots to boycott the Dominican Republic to protest the 11-month detention of two colleagues there on drug smuggling charges.

The SNPL France Alpa union in a statement appealed to pilots with French contracts "to refuse to carry out flights to the Dominican Republic".

The union's president, Yves Deshayes, said two Air France pilots on Tuesday had said they would not fly to Santo Domingo, but they were replaced by others who did.

The union launched the action in support of two pilots, Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos, who were arrested on March 20, 2013 when Dominican Republic anti-narcotics officials discovered 700 kilos of cocaine in their plane.

The aircraft, a Falcon 50 private jet owned by a French millionaire owner of a chain of eyeglass stores, Alain Afflelou.

The famed owner of an international chain of opticians bearing his name, had loaned the aircraft to the Lyon-based Transhelicopter Services company.

At the time a lawyer for Afflelou claimed he would “take the necessary steps to establish what happened”, and that a letter “demanding an explanation” had been sent to the French leasing company, according to regional daily Ouest-France.

The two pilots have been kept in detention since, pending trial. The union says a court hearing to begin proceedings against them and nearly 40 other drug trafficking suspects has been delayed six times.

The Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, gets much of its revenue from tourists, most of whom come from Europe.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available