Thursday, March 25, 2010

Administrators called in as Scottish airline fails

Sadly it has been announced that Scottish airline Highland Airways has ceased operating as administrators have been called in.

The carrier operated a fleet of nine aircraft on various contracts including routes from Inverness and Oban to the Western Isles as well as Cardiff to Anglesey.

Routes included Inverness to Benbecula via Stornoway and Oban to Tiree, Colonsay and Coll. Highland, which employs approximately 100 people, is in contact today with those passengers who had been expecting to travel in the coming weeks.

Bruce Cartwright and Graham Frost of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Scotland were appointed as joint administrators last night and warned of redundancies.

The company had experienced a period of difficult trading which was further exacerbated by recent bad weather which grounded the fleet for a significant period and the loss of three contracted routes in the last six months of trading.

Administrators said they believe there are around 800 forward bookings at an approximate value of £50 per flight. Funds for flights booked in the last two months and not flown have been retained separately from company funds, PwC said.

But no refunds will be made for cancelled flights and passengers are being advised to contact their credit card or insurance company.

Cartwright said: “The company had encountered trading difficulties including the loss of certain contracts.

“As a result they were in discussion with a number of parties over a period of time with a view to developing a new and viable operating model.

“The directors have now concluded that the option of maintaining operations while introducing a new investor is no longer feasible.

"As administrators we are conscious that Highland provided a valuable service within Scotland and Wales and we will be working with contracted customers to ensure an orderly handover of services to new operators wherever feasible.

“It is inevitable that there will be a substantial number of redundancies but we will endeavour where feasible to assist the work force in securing employment with the new service providers.”

Customers are advised to visit the Highland Airways website for further information.

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