Airline Spanair collapses, passengers stranded

Last Updated: Saturday, January 28, 2012 - 20:44

Madrid: Passengers were stranded at Spanish airports on Saturday after airline Spanair abruptly went bust,
cancelling all its flights at short notice.

"Faced with the lack of financial visibility for the
coming months, the company has decided to cease its operations
as a measure of caution and safety," Spanair said in a
statement.

Its last scheduled flight landed last night, leaving
rivals such as Iberia, Vueling and Easyjet to share out the
passengers left stranded.

Spanish media said at least 22,000 passengers were
affected over the weekend but Spanair spokespeople were not
immediately available to confirm this to an agency.

A queue of 200 surprised passengers formed at Spanair
counters at Barcelona airport last evening shortly after the
anouncement, a journalist said.

Airports authority AENA said this morning everything was
normal at Madrid`s Barajas airport and Barcelona`s El Prat,
where special lounges had been allocated for Spanair
customers.

"Passengers are turning up at these zones and the other
companies are putting them on flights," an AENA spokeswoman
said.

She said 55 Spanair flights were scrapped at Madrid and
54 at Barcelona today alone, with a handful of flights
cancelled at Palma de Mallorca and Gran Canaria.

The company said in its statement Friday: "The Spanair
management regrets this and apologises to all those people who
are affected by this situation."

Spanair, founded in 1986, had tried to survive by a
tie-up with Qatar Airways which fell through.

The Catalania regional authorities, which owns part of
the company, said it was unable to increase its stake due to
crisis budget cuts and EU limits.

In 2008 one of Spanair`s jets crashed on take-off at
Madrid airport with the deaths of 154 people.

PTI




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