Air carrier SkyEurope, currently under bankruptcy procedure, has a debt of EUR 530,000 to Baneasa Airport, representing airport taxes, Agerpres reports. If the company doesn’t pay the current operating taxes, it faces the danger of losing the right to operate in Bucharest, Marinel Anton, state secretary with the Ministry of Transportation warned. “SkyEurope has a debt of EUR 530,000 to the Baneasa Airport, representing operation taxes, and a measure that can be taken to recover the debt is to ground its plane, as provided by the International Air Code. We took this measure for Tuesday’s flight,” Anton explained, after a SkyEurope flight from Bucharest to Vienna was grounded in Bucharest on Tuesday night. The official said the Baneasa Airport yesterday received a letter from SkyEurope, briefing the Bucharest officials about the company going bankrupt.
Slovak low-cost carrier SkyEurope on Monday announced it voluntarily decided to get insolvent, following structural financial trouble. “The company obtained in court, in Bratislava, the freezing of its debts, which will allow its management team to conduct a reorganization procedure,” SkyEurope writes in a release. The company stresses that this measure won’t affect its flight plans, personnel and payments for the services and materials provided during the legal restructuring. Previously, the carrier had announced that its operations were severely hit by the world economic downturn, which forced it to cut its fleet to just 5 Boeing 737s, from the 15 it was flying at the end of 2008. SkyEurope has operation bases in Prague, Bratislava, Kosice and Viena. Low-cost carrier SkyEurope Airlines operates flights from Bucharest to Vienna and Rome and from Targu Mures to Budapest and Vienna. On October 28, 2007 it also started to cover the route Timisoara – Vienna. Eventually, Baneasa Airport allowed Tuesday’s flight to Vienna to take off Wednesday around 12:30 PM, airport sources announced. Another SkyEurope flight, due to land on Baneasa yesterday, at 9:50 AM, announced it will be delayed until 11:45 AM, then it was eventually canceled. The state secretary with the Transportation Ministry, Marin Anton had earlier declared that two SkyEurope airplanes are grounded on Baneasa Airport because of debts worth EUR 529,000. Anton had made this announcement before knowing that the second plane will no longer arrive in Bucharest.
However aviation expert Sorin Stoicescu yesterday said that, in order to ground the planes, the airport needs an impounding order issued by the Bucharest Sector 1 Tribunal. Airport sources also stated that the Romanian authorities, through the Transport Ministry, are committing “a big abuse” by grounding the SkyEurope planes, because the company notified the airport about the insolvency decision. During the bankruptcy procedure, the company will secure the existing jobs, salaries and flights, SkyEurope made clear.
Marin Anton said the airplanes were grounded in order to force the airline to pay its debts to the Baneasa Airport, but that if SkyEurope has a court order placing it under bankruptcy protection, Romanian authorities urge them to pay at least the taxes for each flight. SkyEurope never posted a profit in its six years of existence, Nine o'Clock informed.