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Riviera jet set angered over Saint Tropez private plane ban

New regulations mean that jets that originate from countries outside of Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone are no longer able to land at the La Mole Saint-Tropez airstrip.

It has affected travellers from Russia, the Middle East and Britain among others, whose planes account for up to 30 percent of flights going in and out of the airport.

“I’ve got furious customers who have bought homes for between five and 25 million euros (5.3-26.5 million dollars) and who don’t understand,” Cedric Lescop, the head of private jet group Jetfly, said.

The change came after France withdrew the airport’s customs facilities in November, meaning jets now have to land in another French airport before proceeding to Saint-Tropez.

Some are flying to the local port of Toulon or the town of Cannes and taking helicopters from there.

If necessary, Lescop said his clients were “ready to pay a tax to pay for customs officials” at the Saint-Tropez airport.

Christian Estrosi, head of the local region, has demanded that the government reverses its decision following an outcry from businesses and officials worried about the impact on tourism.

The number of visitors had already fallen after an attack in the French Riviera city of Nice in July that saw 86 people killed when an Islamist-inspired extremist drove a truck into a crowd.

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An economic survey in 2012 estimated that clients of La Mole Saint-Tropez airport spent on average 1,700 euros per day.

“I’ll fight it until they fold,” warned Francoise Dumont, the head of regional tourism body, Var Tourisme, referring to the decision to withdraw the customs facilities.

Article source: http://www.thelocal.fr/20161201/st-tropez-vips-angered-over-airport-jet-french-riviera