Spain requests safety guarantees from Futura

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The Spanish Infrastructure Ministry said Monday it was seeking safety guarantees from Futura International Airways after it suspended flights for 24 hours to seek bankruptcy protection.

8 September 2008

PALMA DE MAJORCA -- The Spanish Infrastructure Ministry said Monday it was seeking safety guarantees from the charter carrier Futura International Airways after it suspended flights for 24 hours to seek bankruptcy protection.

A court in Palma de Majorca, where one of Europe's biggest independent charter airlines is based, was handling the bankruptcy petition.

The infrastructure ministry said Futura had suspended flights for 24 hours on Monday in order to inform its employees about the consequences of the petition for creditor protection.

Futura is to inform the ministry about its economic situation and to present a financial and a safety guarantees plan this week in order to determine whether the airline could retain its operating licence, said the ministry in a statement.

According to the ministry, the civil aviation authorities were trying to ensure that Futura met its obligations towards its passengers and guaranteed their safety.

Futura chairman Roman Pane said the airline would reduce its staff of nearly 1,200 by half and trim its high-season fleet from 22 to about 12 aircraft.

The carrier will resume flights on Tuesday, Pane said, blaming Futura's difficulties on rising oil prices.

Futura could continue its activity despite having sought creditor protection, Alejandro Juarez of the trade union CCOO said during a meeting of the management and employees' representatives in Palma.

The airline's Irish-based subsidiary Futura Gael meanwhile said it had ceased operating because of financial difficulties.

Futura Gael, which has operated charter flights to the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, said it had suspended all flights for an undetermined period.

A spokesman for the company could not say how many passengers had been affected. He said Futura Gael was looking for an investor with a view to resuming operations in the future.

Futura International Airways was founded in 1989 with the participation of Irish carrier Aer Lingus, which sold off its majority stake in 2002 and its last 20 percent in October.

[dpa / Expatica]

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