Hundreds of passengers have been left in the lurch after transatlantic carrier Zoom had two planes grounded over non-payment of fees, fuelling fears it could become the next high-profile casualty of the high fuel crisis.
The budget airline has confirmed it has run into financial difficulties and sought creditor protection in view of “acutely difficult” trading conditions.A Boeing 757 due to leave Glasgow Airport this morning with more than 200 passengers bound for Halifax and Ottowa was refused permission to leave, after the Civil Aviation Authority enforced a detention order. Last night 69 passengers at Calgary had to seek an alternative flight after the leasing company grounded its aircraft after alleged non-payment of fees.
Hugh Boyle, executive chairman of Zoom, said: “Zoom Airlines Limited, based at London Gatwick and Zoom Airlines Inc, based in Ottawa Canada, have sought creditor protection by filing legal notices of intention to appoint an administrator in both the UK and Canada.
“The airline’s flights will continue to operate and the decision to instigate creditor protection proceedings means that the demands of existing creditors are frozen while we continue negotiations on an investment package which already are at an advanced stage.
“This situation has resulted in delays for passengers last night and today and we are working extremely hard to get our flights back on schedule. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this has caused passengers.
“Our trading position is a direct consequence of the horrendous increase in the price of aviation fuel and the economic climate. The rise in the price of fuel resulted in a $50 million increase in our operating costs during the last year alone and that coupled with the general economic downturn has led to difficulties which are being felt throughout the industry.”
Zoom confirmed it had experienced difficulties with a flight to Vancouver on Wednesday which stopped off at Calgary last night as a result of an issue regarding the leasing of the aircraft.
Calgary Airport Authority spokesman Bryce Paton said: “It’s an aircraft that Zoom had leased and the company that owns the aircraft has terminated their lease agreement with Zoom.”
When the plane landed, the fuel supplier told the airline it wouldn’t refuel the aircraft because of outstanding debts.
Paton said it appears a number of accounts with Zoom are in arrears, including one with the Calgary airport in excess of CN$400,000.