The Freedom from Torture charity tweeted a fake advert for Spanish operator Privilege Style, before staging a demonstration at its Majorca headquarters. Activists branded the business and its boss, Chema Alvarez, “the airline of last resort”, after it sent one of its four jets from Dusseldorf in Germany to the Ministry of Defence air base Boscombe Down, Wilts, in preparation for the flight.
They tweeted: “We thought people might want to know more about who you really are – so we made this ad for you… Ready to say you won’t be involved yet?”
Their fake advert read: “We’re flying in the face of human decency. While most airlines refuse to fly refugees to Rwanda, we haven’t ruled ourselves out.”
The Majorca protesters, carrying a banner stating “Privilege Style: Stop tearing families apart”, were told to leave the building.
A charity spokesman said “The protest follows a campaign by Freedom from Torture which saw 30,000 people sending emails to airlines suspected of involvement in the UK Government’s plan to remove to Rwanda refugees who seek safety in the UK through irregular routes.
“Two airlines who have previously conducted deportation flights for the UK government, Titan Airways and Air Tanker, have officially ruled themselves out of the scheme as a result of the campaign.”
Privilege Style was thought to be providing a 27-year-old ex-Polish Airlines Boeing 767-300 for the UK flight, at a reported cost of £200,000-£500,000.
Mr Alvarez was unavailable for comment yesterday.
A spokesman for the Home Office refused to discuss whether Privilege Style had a contract to fly the illegal migrants to Rwanda.