Last-gasp cash keeps airline flying ? for now

Author: By Simon Evans

Administrators were lined up to handle the airline’s collapse but directors at
Globespan Group managed to secure new funding at the 11th hour. But it is
not known whether the additional cash has secured the long-term future of
the airline.

It’s believed that the Civil Aviation Authority, the industry regulator, was
informed about the possible collapse of “an airline”. Contingency plans to
repatriate thousands of passengers who would have been left stranded by a
collapse are thought to have been drafted.

The troubled group also operates baggage and check-in facilities for rival
budget airline FlyBe at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. And last year the
company won contracts from the Ministry of Defence to fly to the Falkland
Islands and Qatar from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

An industry source said: “This is a difficult time for airlines and the travel
world. I don’t think that anyone can be considered safe.”

Globespan Group, which was founded in 1970, has around 900 staff and operates
a fleet of more than 10 planes primarily from Scottish airports to
destinations such as Alicante in Spain and Orlando in the US.

In the wake of the collapse of the airline XL Leisure last year, betting firm
Paddy Power ranked FlyGlobespan as the airline most likely to collapse. But
the firm and its chairman, Tom Dalrymple, looked to have ridden out the
storm when accounts published in March showed the business turned a profit
of £1.2m for the year to the end of 2008, up from a loss of nearly £20m the
previous year. And earlier this month, FlyGlobespan was named Best Holiday
Airline at the Scottish Passenger Agents Association Awards.

It’s believed that Globespan’s latest travails were sparked by a delay in
receiving payments from E-Clear, the credit card processing company.

E-Clear, which, it has been reported, is being pursued by administrators to
the collapsed Slovak budget airline SkyEurope, is considering scaling back
its involvement in the travel industry. Records at Companies House also show
that E-Clear (UK) PLC has failed to submit its latest accounts, which were
due in September. A spokesman for E-Clear said the firm “remains in a strong
financial position”.

A spokesman for Globespan Group declined to comment.

Concerns about Globespan came in the week when Aero Inventory, an Alternative
Investment Market aircraft component supplier, fell into administration. The
firm, which employed 135 staff, failed after its backers refused to put up
new money.

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