BRATISLAVA-based budget airline SkyEurope has ceased working with leasing company GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS).
As a result, the airline stopped operating six jets leased from GECAS on January 8; its leases on four other planes expired at the end of 2008, the SITA newswire reported. Before then, SkyEurope had been operating 15 planes.
Only five now remain in its fleet, though it still uses planes owned by other transport companies.
SkyEurope declined to discuss the reasons behind the termination of its deal with GECAS, saying it was subject to the terms of a private contract. SITA quoted Tomáš Kika, the airline’s spokesman as saying that the financial situation of the company is not easy.
The airline is now considering contracts with other plane-leasing companies.
“We have simply stopped leasing with one company and we are looking for leasing [deals] with other companies,” Kika told the ČTK newswire. In the meantime, other planes are being rented in the short term from other airlines.
SkyEurope says it does not plan to cancel any regular flights due to the departure of the ten planes, all Boeing 737s, and intends to stick to its current flight schedule, Kika said.
However, on January 9 several flights suffered long delays, with ČTK reporting that the morning flight from Prague to London was delayed by four hours. Kika said this was a unique situation and the company was doing its best to eliminate the delays.
SkyEurope is the leading low-cost air carrier in Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In 2007, the company transported over 3.5 million passengers and reported almost 80 percent seat occupancy.
The company operates from three bases in Bratislava, Prague and Vienna. According to ČTK, SkyEurope has never reported a profit during its six years of operation.
Last year the high prices of fuel worsened the situation and it is not currently improving due to the financial crisis.
19. Jan 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by the Spectator staff from press reports