$182K Later, Plane Allowed To Take Off From St. John’s Airport

Yesterday I shared the crazy story of how a National Airlines 757 was essentially being impounded at St. John’s Airport, in Canada. National Airlines is an Orlando based charter airline. Since early this year they have operated a once weekly flight between Orlando and St. John’s, which is one of their few scheduled flights.

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Apparently they haven’t been paying their airport bills, though, so the airport got a court order allowing them to prevent the plane from leaving, by parking a truck in front of it.

I imagine this must have been pretty awkward, as there were passengers at St. John’s Airport waiting to take the flight back to Orlando, though the flight ended up being canceled.

While this all happened on Friday, it looks like the airline and airport finally reached a resolution on Monday, at which point the plane was allowed to depart. Yesterday evening the plane flew from St. John’s to Camp Springs, Maryland, per Flightradar24. Presumably they were picking up some sort of a military charter from there.

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Per CBC News:

The St. John’s International Airport Authority says it received full payment of outstanding fees from National Air Cargo Group on Monday and has released the aircraft it seized last week.

National Airlines owed the airport authority nearly $182,000 in unpaid fees dating back to April, according to airport lawyer Meghan King.

$182,000??? Ouch!

I do have to wonder what National Airlines’ plan was. Since they were discontinuing the flight soon, were they just planning on never paying the airport what they owed? And did they think they’d get away with it?

Whatever their plan was, I’m guessing they’re regretting it. They’ve still had to pay the full amount, got a lot of bad publicity, canceled the route early, and also presumably had to fly the plane out of St. John’s empty.

I also wonder how all of this fits within National Airlines’ ethics policy:

At National we take pride in providing our customers with quality service. We are committed to doing business with Integrity and Honesty and we require the same from our business partners. National routinely trains all of our employees on the laws, regulations and Company policies to ensure they understand that strict compliance is expected and to increase their commitment to ethics in all we do. We are pleased to share our ethics and compliance policies and training materials with our vendors, all with the goal of improving ethics in our industry around the globe.

Hmmm…

Comments

  1. At least they didn’t end like PeoplExpress. A delivery truck and thousands of dollars of unpaid fees resulted in them being evicted.

    They kept saying they were hoping to restart operations, until finally I posted on their page to tell everyone PeoplExpress was involuntarily filed for bankruptcy months ago. Cue them deleting that and shutting their page down 🙂

    I’ll be sure to note National for a future inquiry.

  2. The airport did what it had to do to get paid – good to see. It’s also not the first time something like this has happened in Canada – I think it might have been the now defunct JetsGo Canadian airline where a plane was actually stormed by lawyers and bailiffs at the gate and seized on behalf of creditors. If that plane in St. John’s had ever been cleared for takeoff the airline could have discontinued the service immediately and welched on it’s debt. And no doubt the airline execs would have still managed to escape with their personal bonuses etc. No sympathy from me for that airline. I feel semi-bad for the passengers who got caught in the middle. Not completely though, because they probably paid lower fares than a major airline charges. Sometimes a good deal isn’t really so good…

  3. Good on the Airport, Why should an airline get away with never paying.

    Makes me sick, I would love to wonder into my local store each week and take as much food as possible and just walk out and say I will pay next time, but I don’t get to do that, so why should airlines get away with not paying bills.

    I have no sympathy for the airline and its their own fault.

  4. This sort of thing happens all the time, especially as airlines are teetering on the edge of serious financial problems. In fact, when they are thinking about winding down operations, one of the biggest concerns they have is their aircraft getting impounded in some far away location as a result of unpaid landing fees (or other fees). So while this is an interesting story, it is far from unique.

  5. I heard that pilots carry several tens of thousands of dollars in cash on international routes, in case they get diverted and have to buy fuel.

    A good start would have been seizing that.

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