July 28, 2021

In Paris, the incomprehension of Algerians deprived of plane tickets to Algiers

“How do I do with my move?” “, ” I am disgusted “. In front of the Air Algeria agency in Paris, dozens of people rant about the closed curtain of the airline, which has resumed Paris-Algiers connections after a fifteen-month interruption … but remains impossible to reach. “Our company was forced to close its Opera agency until further notice”, indicates a placard plastered on the door of the shop. She invites customers to fall back on a phone number or go to the Air Algérie site, where no Paris-Algiers flights are on sale.

Monday, May 31, they were hundreds to hurry in front of the agency to obtain a ticket for Algeria. The national company had just announced, on May 24, the reopening of its link between France and Algeria, at the rate of three weekly flights. The Paris agency (the only one in the country with that of Marseille) briefly opened its doors on Monday morning, assures a witness. But after welcoming around thirty clients, she immediately lowered the curtain.

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“There was a great enthusiasm at the level of our agencies, which was to be expected since our borders have been closed for fifteen months”, recognizes Amine Andaloussi, spokesperson for Air Algeria, contacted by AFP. “For health reasons, we preferred to refer our customers to the” call center “and our website”, he added.

Kamel (assumed name) lives in Frankfurt and made the trip especially to Paris to find a ticket. It has been seven years since he set foot in his country. “I have paid for the trip so far, I am paying for the hotel, the food, and there is no information, he said, angry. On the Internet, it said that the agency was open, I traveled 500 km to buy this ticket. ” Arrived Wednesday, he plans to stay another three or four days before giving up and returning to Germany.

“Why don’t they do more flights? “

His wait promises to be in vain. All 6,420 tickets available for the month of June have been sold ” in a few hours “, says Amine Andaloussi. For the moment, no other tickets are on sale, “We are on a partial opening”, he wants to clarify.

Kamel says his father died eight months ago without his being able to attend the funeral. “I accepted it because there was the coronavirus, but now it’s reopened, so there is no more excuse”, he blurted out, cursing the carelessness of Algerian institutions. “Why don’t they do more flights? “, asks Rachid, 35, who works nearby and comes by from time to time to see if the agency opens. “Go see Royal Air Maroc, it’s open, no problem! With Tunisia, Morocco, there is not all that “, he is indignant.

Read also Covid-19: Algeria eases return conditions in the face of the anger of the diaspora

In front of the agency, empty plastic bottles and scattered pieces of cardboard betray the hours spent by some in the hope that the curtain is raised. On the window, sheets of paper were taped to allow customers to write their names and phone numbers so that Air Algeria would call them, without really believing it. Mustapha lives in Saint-Denis and comes every day. “I saw some who came from Switzerland, Beauvais, Lille” to get the sesame, he says.

The plane ticket is displayed at 518 euros round trip, plus 253 euros for five days of confinement at the hotel once in Algeria and a PCR test at the end. But there is no information indicating that no more tickets are available.

The World with AFP