Italy is undergoing an unprecedented wave of unauthorised immigration from Africa. In this case, the three Algerians, who had been refused permission to stay in Italy, decided to do so anyway. They forced open a door while the plane was moving from the gate towards the runway, activated the exit chutes, slid down onto the tarmac and sprinted into the distance.
A major manhunt for the trio has been launched and an investigation opened, as criticism mounts that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government is incapable of controlling Italy’s borders or managing a simple repatriation procedure.
An Alitalia spokesman said the flight’s captain was forced to return to the gate.
“The event happened in a very short time and without consequences for other passengers, except for the inconvenience to move to another aircraft for flying to Istanbul.”
The flight was immediately grounded and police were called.
The three Algerians were in a group that had flown from Algiers on one-way tickets to Istanbul that included a layover in Rome, the airline said.
Alitalia called for stricter controls at Algerian airports.
Back in Italy, Fiumicino airport is still suffering cancellations following a fire started by an electrical fault in an airport bar that went on to partially destroy a terminal.
Last week, 5% of flights in and out of the airport were still cancelled and others delayed, according to flight tracking website, FlightAware.
Written by Peter Needham