Model Letter to British Airways

Send your letters to Willie Walsh, the CEO of BA at:

Fax: 020 8759 4314 (0044 20 8759 4314 if you are faxing from outside UK).

Willie Walsh CEO
British Airways plc,
PO Box 365,
UB7 0GB,

Tel: 0844 493 0787

Here’s the text of the model letter:

To: Willie Walsh
BA Chief Executive Officer
British Airways

Dear Mr Walsh
RE: Hicham Yezza – HOME OFFICE REFERENCE: Y76064

I understand that Mr Hicham Yezza is due to be deported to Algeria against his will on Flight BA894 from Heathrow, destination Algiers, at 9.45am this Sunday, June 1st.
I am writing to ask you to intervene to prevent this happening. I have made myself aware of the facts as presented from various perspectives, and consider that Mr Yezza should be allowed to remain to resolve questions that the Home Office have posed about his status. As things stand, he is being prevented from defending himself in court.

I would like to tell you a few things about Hicham. He is 30 years old and has lived in the UK for 13 years, nearly half his life. During this time he has studied successfully for a bachelors degree at the University of Nottingham, and is close to completing a PhD at the same institution. He is also an employee of the University. Hicham has a large network of friends and colleagues at the University, in the City of Nottingham and more widely. He has held a number of high profile elected positions at the University and has edited several publications. He is an avid reader, and his detention has prevented his annual trip to the Hay Book Festival.
As you may be aware, the international as well as national coverage of this case is extraordinarily widespread and high-profile. Hicham’s MP, Alan Simpson, has written to Liam Byrne, Minister of State for Borders and Immigration, to express his concern that Hicham is threatened with “arbitrary deportation with no right to a proper hearing.” Nick Palmer, MP for Broxtowe said, “I hope that Mr Yezza will have his case fully and fairly considered without any rush to deport him before all the facts are clear.” Lord Robert McDowell has said that “Hicham is a credit to the University of Nottingham, the wider Nottingham community and indeed the rest of the UK.” A letter published in the Guardian on Wednesday 28th May and signed by a large number of academics stressed concern at Hicham’s general treatment and the fact that he is being denied a fair hearing.
Hicham himself asks that he be allowed to remain to clarify his immigration status, which has until recently never been an issue with either the Home Office or his employer. He has asked supporters to convey the message to you that “The Home Office decision to deport me this Sunday is an act of blatant injustice that I hope your company and yourself will make every effort to prevent in accordance with the values that your companies represents and promotes.”
I am aware that carriers are able to exercise discretion about carrying unwilling deportees and are not obliged to do so. I therefore implore you to reconsider BA’s position on this.
Yours sincerely,

One response to “Model Letter to British Airways

  1. This is what BA are replying when asked to intervene / not to be complicit in Hicham’s deportation. Any details on them not being obliged to carry unwilling deportees / right to exercise discretion in such cases? Cheers, Farah

    30/05/2008 12:29

    To Whom It May Concern

    Re: Mr Hicham Yezza

    Thank you for your email of 29th May 2008 addressed to Willie Walsh. I am responding on his behalf.

    I am sure that you understand that for Data Protection reasons, British Airways cannot comment on any passenger’s travel arrangements to a third party.

    British Airways has a legal obligation to remove passengers from the United Kingdom if instructed to by the Home Office. We contravene the Immigration Act 1971 if we refuse to do so and could be prosecuted. Any objections that you may have relating to deportations should be taken up with either the Home Office or the UK Border Agency. The concerns raised in your correspondence have been passed to the UK Border Agency at Heathrow.

    I am sorry that British Airways cannot take any further action.

    Yours sincerely

    Jayne Atkinson
    British Airways plc
    Government & Industry Affairs

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