View Full Version : Problems at Air Scotland?

26th Apr 2003, 23:45
Has anyone heard anything about problems at Air Scotland.
My niece who works out of GLA just phoned to say there 757 has been impounded at GLA for non payment of fees.
She also has heard of a major fallout with Electra,who provide the planes.

27th Apr 2003, 00:29
Contract with Electra terminated - all flights cancelled. Reason unknown.

I believe that Air Scotland are trying to secure the services of Air Holland to operate on their behalf

UK and Ireland Airline Fleet Listings

27th Apr 2003, 01:19
I had also heard of some problems with new crew joining being told that they were all redundant on Thursday.

This could get very interesting as far as the CAA (Economic rather than Safety group) is concerned.

Air Scotland is trading under an agreement with the CAA which means that it does not have to have an ATOL licence. [The licence is backed up by a bond which would be used to refund customers who have paid in advance for flights and to repatriate any customers overseas if the tour operator went bankrupt.] As part of Air Scotland's agreement with the CAA, it is acting as "a ticket provider for Electra Airlines SA", which means that the airline has provided a deed of undertaking to the CAA that it will refund customers' money if Air Scotland ceases.

Now, if Air Scotland has "sacked" Electra Airlines SA as its provider of aircraft and is using Air Holland instead, what has happened to all of the ticket money paid so far to Air Scotland, who under the terms of that agreement, were collecting it on behalf of Electra Airlines? Has Electra disappeared into the setting sun with the dosh? Will Air Holland be guaranteeing all of the customers who have booked before their involvement that their money is safe (if indeed they can) ?

I would watch out for some fireworks in the week ahead once the CAA ATOL department gets involved. If the company is set up along the lines of the Air Scotland/Electra arrangement, you can't simply sack your aircraft provider and go somewhere else. I suspect the ATOL department will be most interested in whose bank account Joe Public's cash is currently sitting.

And PS - worse still - Air Scotland's website is still selling tickets as a ticket provider for Electra Airlines as of now. If I went there and booked a ticket now, this could be construed as fraudulent behaviour if they knew full well that the agreement with Electra was terminated before I bought my ticket. The premise on which I would buy a ticket isn't the premise on which it is being sold - provably so. Oh dear. Largely irrelevant to me though - my Barclaycard number isn't going within a thousand yards of their website.

27th Apr 2003, 01:25
Something is afoot with them. Check today's issue of the Scottish Daily Record. There is a half page advert offering two for one flight ex GLA/EDI/ABZ from now until the end of the season. This is being offered in conjunction with the newspaper, so one wonders if the Scottish press know anything of this.

The Fat Controller
27th Apr 2003, 01:54
Electra have gone.
Flights being operated by Air Holland, but according to a reliable source, only one 757 in use as opposed to 2 from Electra.
As to what happens from the regulatory side, that remains to be seen..........

27th Apr 2003, 04:24
And I may be wrong. but I dont think Air Holland are rolling in money

27th Apr 2003, 05:35
I bet flyglobespan.com will be happy. Less competition on the Palma and Malaga routes.

Air Scotland seemed a bit dodgy from the start!

27th Apr 2003, 05:51
Oh. Oh.

Tonights flight into GLA from Palma currently running three hours late. Could flyglobespan soon be stepping in to rescue the situation??

29th Apr 2003, 04:21
From tomorrow's Scotsman (29/04/03). Sorry there's no link available yet.

Alastair Jamieson
SCOTLAND’s budget airline, Air Scotland, is being investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority amid uncertainty over the future of its operations.
The “virtual airline”, which sells tickets for aircraft flown by a separate firm, is being reviewed after its owners sacked their Greek supplier.
The carrier, which began offering low-cost flights to Spanish resorts last month, broke off a deal with charter firm Electra Airlines in a row over customer service and now wants to sell seats on behalf of a number of operators, including Air Holland.
The split has left two £30 million aircraft belonging to Electra, which is based in Athens, impounded at Edinburgh and Glasgow in a dispute with BAA Scotland over unpaid landing fees.
Air Scotland, which flies from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Tenerife, Palma and Barcelona, has approached the CAA for permission to trade with more than one charter firm.
But it is understood the authority may now insist Air Scotland becomes a fully bonded tour operator, similar to larger firms such as MyTravel.
The ATOL bond would entitle customers to a full refund directly from the firm if a flight did not go ahead.
Currently, passengers who hold a ticket with Air Scotland have a contract instead with the aircraft owner. Their money is only protected if they pay by credit card.
Dhia Al-Ani, the owner of Air Scotland, an Iraqi-born businessman with 20 years experience in the travel trade, will meet senior fig-
ures from Electra and Air Holland in Glasgow today to discuss future operations.
He said: “All our flights are running normally operated by Air Holland. We took the decision to end our agreement with Electra because they could
not offer punctuality. and we take customer service very seriously.
“We want to sell tickets for more than one carrier and have approached the CAA about this. We know of no investigation, we requested a review.”
A spokesman for the CAA said: “We are looking into the situation surrounding Air Scotland and the issue of ATOL bonding but there is no decision yet.”
Ken McNab, vice-chairman of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) in Scotland, said: “I am pleased that at long last the authorities are looking into this. There needs to be clarity about the relationship between airlines and ticket providers in
order to make it clearer for consumers.”
“We encourage people to book fights with ATOL-bonded tour operators.”
A spokesman for the Air Users Council (AUC) would not comment on Air Scotland until the CAA had announced its findings.
Air Scotland’s rivals yesterday claimed it should be fully ATOL bonded in order to sell tickets for more than one airline.
Tom Dalrymple, chairman of Edinburgh-based tour operator Flyglobespan, which has an ATOL bond, said: “We have calling on the authorities to look into this for some time. If any problems occur it looks bad for the industry as a whole and we feel aggrieved that rivals can exploit a loophole in the law this way.”
BAA Scotland would not elaborate on its dispute with Electra yesterday, although a source said negotiations over the unpaid fess had been delayed because of the Orthodox Greek Easter holidays.
The source added: “We are fairly relaxed about this. Electra do not appear to have any financial difficulty, but they have been caught out by the sudden timing of this. We are expecting to get our money eventually and discussions are amicable.”
Electra, which supplied pilots and cabin crew supervisors to train Air Scotland’s own new recruits, has previously operated for firms including Virgin and British Airways, but also had the conrtact to ferry the Taleban and al-Qaeda prisoners to Guantanamo bay.
Cees van Dormael, president of Air Holland, told The Scotsman he was seeking a long-term deal with Air Scotland. “Our relationship so far has been good, which is also good for passengers in Scotland” he said.
A message on the Air Scotland website yesterday asked all passengers who have tickets with Air Scotland for travel within the next two weeks to contact them, but there was no answer on the phone number given.
The site says: “Due to operational reasons, there may be some minor adjustments to your flight times.
“It is imperative that you contact us on 0141 222 2363 or E-mail us at [email protected] as soon as possible.”
Mr Al-Ani said phone lines had been “very busy”.

29th Apr 2003, 04:32
And still this message displayed proudly on the Air Scotland website:

<< Welcome to Air-Scotland.com the trading name of Electra Airlines( Scotland ) Ltd acting as a "Ticket Provider" for Electra Airlines S.A, the "Operating Airline".>>

Anyone know the phone number for Trading Standards? This has got to be illegal?

29th Apr 2003, 04:50
According to Al-Ani, Electra is still technically the operator and it is Electra who have arranged the deal with Air Holland because it is obliged to provide alternative transport or a refund under the T&Cs of the passenger booking.

He says Electra name will come off once a proper deal with Air Holland can be put in place.

I'll be watching.

29th Apr 2003, 06:44
BAA Scotland would not elaborate on its dispute with Electra yesterday, although a source said negotiations over the unpaid fess had been delayed because of the Orthodox Greek Easter holidays.
The source added: “We are fairly relaxed about this. Electra do not appear to have any financial difficulty, but they have been caught out by the sudden timing of this. We are expecting to get our money eventually and discussions are amicable.”

I have never known discussions between the BAA and someone who has had their aircraft impounded be described as "amicable" before. That's a new one. BAA also have every reason to be "relaxed" - they're the ones holding £30m of Boeing 757 hardware as security against the debt!

Excuse my cynicism, but Orthodox Greek Easter is being blamed again? Christ knows how, but BAA manage to run airports on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, so I wouldn't have thought the [not unexpected] fall of Greek Easter ought to completely bazooka an entire airline.

29th Apr 2003, 07:00
Excuse my cynicism, but Orthodox Greek Easter is being blamed again? Christ knows how, but BAA manage to run airports on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, so I wouldn't have thought the [not unexpected] fall of Greek Easter ought to completely bazooka an entire airline.

Well, quite.

codpiece face
29th Apr 2003, 18:10
Lets face it the whole operation has been ramshackle from the start. What we dont need just now is the confidence of the public dented by more fly by night operations. I know for a fact they were telling passengers a few days ago that the aircraft was tech and they were going to bus them to EDI, when the aircraft had been clearly impounded and they were being asked to pay cash for fuel.

29th Apr 2003, 20:23
Looks like Air Scotland is heading for the history books.

IMHO these start up airlines fall over themselves to be up and running as soon as possible, frequently starting operations when the foundations are not properly in place. Setting up an airline simply cannot be done in a matter of a few weeks.
I know that if I was looking for a flight from GLA to PMI, for myself and family, I would want to part with my hard earned cash to an ATOL bonded carrier. If things went wrong then I have a guarantee of my money back.
If I understand from previous postings correctly the only "guarantee" currently on offer from Air Scotland is a "promise" from an Iraqi that you'll get your money back and a phone number to call which, funnily enough, nobody answers!!!
The words pole, avoid and barge immediately spring to mind.

29th Apr 2003, 21:05
Carrier's dont have to be ATOL bonded, thats how Air Scotland were getting round the need for the ATOL, they were selling as a ticket agent for an airline.


29th Apr 2003, 21:19
Any news about the aircrew that where employed by Air Scotland? Will they be flying the Air Holland aircarft along with the dutch crews? Or are they out of work now. The web site states that Air-scotland.com have ambitions to eventually have a UK AOC. Seems odd they didnt do that in the first place.

CarltonBrowne the FO
29th Apr 2003, 21:28
Starting an airline using someone else's aircraft and AOC is not unheard of- it's how easyJet began their operation. I flew with them as a pax in their first few weeks, but it was actually a GB aircraft and crew.

29th Apr 2003, 21:42
CarltonBrowne the FO - <<Starting an airline using someone else’s aircraft and AOC is not unheard of>> Indeed it’s not, but that’s not what this particular case is about, "Air" Scotland are operating as a resale agent, selling tickets for an airline (was Electra, now is ???)

29th Apr 2003, 23:17
I am aware that new companies use other operators aoc and aircraft. Its just strange that air scotland.com have recruited cabin crew, engineers and aircrew to work for them. If they have employed staff why not get a uk aoc and a couple of cheap 757 's laid up in the desert. It just strikes me as a vunrable position for the air acotland employees, and the company to be in, thats all.

29th Apr 2003, 23:29
Bouldaman Air Scotland were advised by the CAA that the best way of obtaining an AOC was to hire and train flight deck, cabin crew and ground crew and get the basic elements in place before applying. The easiest way of doing this is to work with a charter firm in the meantime, which is exactly what EZY did. The Electra arrangement was never going to be long term, even if the outcome was good.

The Air Scotland crew, who I understand have yet to complete their training, are currently on gardening leave until Mr Al-Ani can persaude Air Holland to train them. The CEO of Air Holland is quite amenable to this (once the right paperwork is in place), particularly since the flight times will involve crew layovers in EDI or GLA and locally based crew would therefore come cheaper.

And no carriers have ATOL bonding. Theoretically, the Air Scotland/Electra arrangement is exactly the same as your local travel agent and BA. Your contract as a passenger is with BA, not with the travel agent. If BA goes bust, you're screwed (unless you paid by credit card). The problem with the Air Scotland/Electra arrangement is that practice doesn't appear to be matching the theory. If it looks like a tour operator, acts like a tour operator and sounds like a tour operator, then... it would need a tour operator's licence - ie an ATOL. That is what the CAA are looking into today.

Big Tudor
29th Apr 2003, 23:50

unless you paid by credit card.
Unless the credit card companies get their way. I understand that an impending court case is set to determine credit card companies responsibility for goods purchased outside of the UK. Wonder how this will affect consumers who purchase flight tickets from a call centre in Bombay (Mumbai)?
Sorry to go off thread but I can see this being a rather large can of worms if it goes in favour of the CC companies.

CarltonBrowne the FO
30th Apr 2003, 02:47
dontdoit , I was answering Bouldaman - I have no opinion on the rest of this topic, other than to hope that the operation stabilises, and that those who have been offered jobs on the future UK AOC aren't left high and dry.

30th Apr 2003, 22:16
Q. Why are all the Air Atlanta bashers, not on this posting complaining about bad practices and Airline management at Air Scotland ?

A. They are well balanced - with a chip on each shoulder

Maybe the out of work pilots should apply to AAI; they too have a B757 base at GLA.