Low-cost airline cuts Charleroi flights
6 December 2004, BRUSSELS - Low-cost airline Air Polonia has stopped its flights from Charleroi airport, it was reported on Monday.
6 December 2004
BRUSSELS - Low-cost airline Air Polonia has stopped its flights from Charleroi airport, it was reported on Monday.
The Polish company, which started flights at the Belgian airport just eight months ago, cancelled services on Sunday after its main investor, the Irish company Plane Consulte, told it that it was pulling out.
Air Polonia has been in financial trouble for the last three months and had implemented a plan to cut costs and restructure.
However, its president Jan Litwinski said the decision of Plane Consulte to withdraw had come as a surprise.
Next week, he said the company had been due to sign a deal with Plane Consulte, which would have seen the investment of an extra EUR 10 million in the company.
Air Polonia learnt of the decision of Plane Consulte on Friday, although it did not receive the news in writing, and on Saturday cancelled all its flights.
Litwinski said the company couldn't finance its running costs or the hire of its planes.
On Sunday, passengers who had booked with Air Polonia were left stranded at airports, including 120 waiting at Charleroi.
The Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air stepped in to fly the passengers to their destinations and has said it is interested in taking over other flights already booked through Air Polonia.
Sky Europe, a low-cost airline based in Slovakia, has also made a deal with Air Polonia to take over other passenger flights.
Air Polonia's decision came as a blow to the authorities at Charleroi airport, who already fear they may lose their biggest client Ryanair, which was ordered by the European Commission in February to repay millions in subsidies to install at Charleroi.
"The loss of a client is never good news, above all when we have the goal of diversifying the companies operating at Charleroi," said Laurent Jossart, the head of BSCA, which manages Charleroi.
"Low cost companies are often under funded and the rapid rise in the price of petrol has affected them badly," added BSCA spokesman Pierre Fernemont.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news