(Image: Wikimedia)

When Sri Lankan asylum seekers Priya, Nades and their two girls faced a late-night deportation attempt in August, supporters of the family began scanning flights to Colombo, hoping to launch a hail-Mary protest and block their removal.

While early reports suggested they might be flown on a Qantas jet, activists soon found their target -- a private plane at a small hangar on the edge of Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne.

The plane belonged to Skytraders, a charter company that has made a healthy profit moving and deporting asylum seekers for the Department of Home Affairs. But that lucrative relationship may have come at a reputational cost for Skytraders, a company accused of complicity in a punitive deportation regime.