WHEN SkyEurope Airline moved all its flights to and from Vienna to the Bratislava airport after the Vienna airport refused servicing SkyEurope flights due to unpaid debts, the airline carrier said their planes might return to Vienna as soon as Thursday, August 20. But on that day nothing had changed and the spokesperson for the airline, Tomáš Kika, told the SITA newswire that no SkyEurope flights to or from Vienna were expected for the following ‘several days’.
SkyEurope wants to negotiate with Schwechat airport about restarting services from the Vienna airport and Kika said using the Bratislava airport is only temporary. Because of SkyEurope’s arrangements, the number of passengers passing though the gates of Bratislava airport has risen significantly by 25 to 30 percent each day to between 2,600 and 3,000 people.
On the other hand, SkyEurope flights represent only about 4 percent of the total number of flights handled by the Vienna airport and the movement of those flights to Bratislava will not have significant impact on Schwechat’s operations, SITA wrote.
It’s been a bumpy ride over the past couple of months for SkyEurope Airlines, Slovakia’s low-cost airline. But after securing court protection from its creditors in June it has now found a new investor and a €5-million loan. The Austrian investment group Focus Equity’s decision to board the ailing airline instantly boosted confidence in SkyEurope, which meanwhile also managed to extend its commercial operating licence.
At midnight on August 14, however, Vienna Airport stopped servicing SkyEurope flights because of what the airport said were outstanding invoices. Earlier in the week, Vienna Airport had granted SkyEurope a grace period to settle its unpaid invoices.
“Despite long and intensive talks with SkyEurope, the outstanding due payments were not made by Friday, at 15:00,” Vienna Airport said in a statement, according to the Reuters newswire.
This served as the basis for the Vienna Airport to end all services for SkyEurope at the airport beginning at midnight on August 16.
SkyEurope announced that its jets will now depart from the Bratislava airport and that it will transfer all passengers from Vienna to Bratislava. The spokesman for SkyEurope, Tomáš Kika, described the arrangement as a temporary measure that will be applied only until an agreement is reached with Vienna Airport.
Back in June, a Bratislava district court granted SkyEurope Airlines temporary protection from its creditors. At the same time, the company’s planes encountered problems obtaining permission to leave some French, Bulgarian and Romanian airports amid reports of unpaid airport fees.
SkyEurope lives to fly another day