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Court Action at Blackpool

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Court Action at Blackpool

Old 23rd Apr 2002, 09:30
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Court Action at Blackpool

I hope this information is useful, or at least interesting. I also hope a discussion can be had without reference to Mr Bateson or Murgy. The following affects all aircraft owners and the results could be devastating.

Blackpool Airport, as you probably are aware, landed themselves with a huge debt of their own making. They allowed Comed Aviation credit facilities for around £700,000 and when Comed failed they then impounded aircraft under Section 88 of the CAA Act 1982. This act says they can impound any aircraft “Operated” by the person “in default”. In our case, the chipmunk which has now been grounded for 14 months, had been “used” by Comed and had £568.75 of landing fees allocated to it. I must stress that if they win court action the aircraft will be sold and then ALL the money used against ALL the debts. It is not just a matter of paying £568.75 for the chipmunk to be released.


We have been served court documents including the following sheet.
Please notice the debts owed on the three aircraft detained and taken to court and the one aircraft engine being taken to court compared to the debts owed on those aircraft not detained.

Analysis of Comed Debt by Aircraft ( Sorry for the bad layout)

Registration - Charge - Detained - Court Action Taken
GBMKK £853.13 Yes - Yes
GAYRG £853.13 Yes
GSFHR £5,875.56 Yes - Yes (only for value of 1 Engine)
GBDWY £3,255.1 0 Yes
GBRPL £2,852.50 Yes
GBBEV £2,196.25 Yes
GBJXA £568.75 Yes - Yes
GBXIA £568.75 Yes - Yes
GBDGM £853.13 Yes
Total £17,876.30

PHFVA £19,012.36 No
GONEW £16,325.60 No
GBBEY £12,757.03 No
GBBEF £583.55 No
PHFVC £45,612.59 No
GBGYT £5,699.10 No
GFLTY £2,390.05 No
GOBPL £98,623.48 No
GODUB £87,252.25 No
GTABS £2,264.91 No
GBSSE £2,958.21 No
GBULH £4,217.82 No
EIBPD £2,132.80 No
EICPR £630.00 No
GBFWE £2,593.67 No
GPLAJ £1,015.00 No
GPLAH £692.50 No
GBBGB £15.00 No
GBMBC £1,972.59 No
GJAJK £3,010.09 No
GRVRD £10.00 No
SEKGV £525.00 No
GCITY £1,331.30 No
GBTHA £30.00 No
GTVIP £70.00 No
GILTS £15.32 No
GREAT £50.02 No
Total £329,666.54
Allocation -£4,652.88
Total £325,013.66

Landing Fees £84,194.52
Pay Load £198,800.20
Out of Hours £42,018.94
Money Received -- £85,000 from released aircraft? (But how much has this cost in legal fees to recover?)
BALANCE = £250,013.66
Fuel £251,998.31
Vat £94,725.90
BALANCE = £596,737.87 YES almost £600,000!

Do you consider it negligent of the airport management to allow these debts to accrue in the first place?

Should the airport be able to use third party assets to cover credit they authorised without the knowledge of the third party?

Your comments please!
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 09:30
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Court Action at Blackpool

I hope this information is useful, or at least interesting. I also hope a discussion can be had without reference to Mr Bateson or Murgy. The following affects all aircraft owners and the results could be devastating.

Blackpool Airport, as you probably are aware, landed themselves with a huge debt of their own making. They allowed Comed Aviation credit facilities for around £700,000 and when Comed failed they then impounded aircraft under Section 88 of the CAA Act 1982. This act says they can impound any aircraft “Operated” by the person “in default”. In our case, the chipmunk which has now been grounded for 14 months, had been “used” by Comed and had £568.75 of landing fees allocated to it. I must stress that if they win court action the aircraft will be sold and then ALL the money used against ALL the debts. It is not just a matter of paying £568.75 for the chipmunk to be released.


We have been served court documents including the following sheet.
Please notice the debts owed on the three aircraft detained and taken to court and the one aircraft engine being taken to court compared to the debts owed on those aircraft not detained.

Analysis of Comed Debt by Aircraft ( Sorry for the bad layout)

Registration - Charge - Detained - Court Action Taken
GBMKK £853.13 Yes - Yes
GAYRG £853.13 Yes
GSFHR £5,875.56 Yes - Yes (only for value of 1 Engine)
GBDWY £3,255.1 0 Yes
GBRPL £2,852.50 Yes
GBBEV £2,196.25 Yes
GBJXA £568.75 Yes - Yes
GBXIA £568.75 Yes - Yes
GBDGM £853.13 Yes
Total £17,876.30

PHFVA £19,012.36 No
GONEW £16,325.60 No
GBBEY £12,757.03 No
GBBEF £583.55 No
PHFVC £45,612.59 No
GBGYT £5,699.10 No
GFLTY £2,390.05 No
GOBPL £98,623.48 No
GODUB £87,252.25 No
GTABS £2,264.91 No
GBSSE £2,958.21 No
GBULH £4,217.82 No
EIBPD £2,132.80 No
EICPR £630.00 No
GBFWE £2,593.67 No
GPLAJ £1,015.00 No
GPLAH £692.50 No
GBBGB £15.00 No
GBMBC £1,972.59 No
GJAJK £3,010.09 No
GRVRD £10.00 No
SEKGV £525.00 No
GCITY £1,331.30 No
GBTHA £30.00 No
GTVIP £70.00 No
GILTS £15.32 No
GREAT £50.02 No
Total £329,666.54
Allocation -£4,652.88
Total £325,013.66

Landing Fees £84,194.52
Pay Load £198,800.20
Out of Hours £42,018.94
Money Received -- £85,000 from released aircraft? (But how much has this cost in legal fees to recover?)
BALANCE = £250,013.66
Fuel £251,998.31
Vat £94,725.90
BALANCE = £596,737.87 YES almost £600,000!

Do you consider it negligent of the airport management to allow these debts to accrue in the first place?

Should the airport be able to use third party assets to cover credit they authorised without the knowledge of the third party?

Your comments please!
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 13:43
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This is probably a silly question, but
You have obtained legal advice, haven't you?
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 13:43
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This is probably a silly question, but
You have obtained legal advice, haven't you?
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 15:50
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We have been advised that we have a good case. It all depends upon the airport proving that Comed was the "operator" of each aircraft. We say we are the operator, they say comed was.

Would you risk your aircraft on going to court to find out the definition of the word "operator" ?????
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 15:50
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We have been advised that we have a good case. It all depends upon the airport proving that Comed was the "operator" of each aircraft. We say we are the operator, they say comed was.

Would you risk your aircraft on going to court to find out the definition of the word "operator" ?????
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 16:16
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I don't think you have much choice by the sounds of it.
What scandalous behaviour by the airport.
Were Comed operating your a/c when it was grounded?
I can't see how anyone could start seizing an a/c just because it was operated by someone else on a previous occasion who didn't pay a bill. Doesn't sound right.
Unbelievable the airport acting in this way.
I wish you Good luck.

There are a number of lawyers on Prune. Hope one of them spots this and gives a view.
Look out for "Flying Lawyer" in particular.
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 16:16
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I don't think you have much choice by the sounds of it.
What scandalous behaviour by the airport.
Were Comed operating your a/c when it was grounded?
I can't see how anyone could start seizing an a/c just because it was operated by someone else on a previous occasion who didn't pay a bill. Doesn't sound right.
Unbelievable the airport acting in this way.
I wish you Good luck.

There are a number of lawyers on Prune. Hope one of them spots this and gives a view.
Look out for "Flying Lawyer" in particular.
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 18:32
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Wish you luck - it's obvious that right is on your side.
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 18:32
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Wish you luck - it's obvious that right is on your side.
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 20:29
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I hope you now see how important this subject is. Section 88 means an airport can impound any aircraft that has been "operated" (read USED) by the person in default of payment. Blackpool airport are, and I Quote " The claimant (Blackpool Airport) herein will rely upon the fact that the aircraft (chipmunk) was landing under Comed's flight numbers assigned under a landing contract between the claimant and Comed, as evidence that Comed was the operator of the aircraft at the time of its lawful detention."

In other simple words because our reg no was listed on comeds landing contract the airport is insisting that comed was the operator. We say Comed did use the aircraft and had a landing contract for when they did use it, but we were the "operators".

Any help or advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 20:29
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I hope you now see how important this subject is. Section 88 means an airport can impound any aircraft that has been "operated" (read USED) by the person in default of payment. Blackpool airport are, and I Quote " The claimant (Blackpool Airport) herein will rely upon the fact that the aircraft (chipmunk) was landing under Comed's flight numbers assigned under a landing contract between the claimant and Comed, as evidence that Comed was the operator of the aircraft at the time of its lawful detention."

In other simple words because our reg no was listed on comeds landing contract the airport is insisting that comed was the operator. We say Comed did use the aircraft and had a landing contract for when they did use it, but we were the "operators".

Any help or advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 20:49
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I'm afraid that I can't offer any advice, other than get good legal representation.

The point you make is a very good one, especially for people buying used aircraft. I remember a few years ago someone purchased an R22 that was a couple of years old. When he landed at an airport it was impounded due to unpaid bills that the previous owner had incurred with that airframe.

It may not seem very fair at all, but it seems to be the way the law is written.

Ian
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 20:49
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I'm afraid that I can't offer any advice, other than get good legal representation.

The point you make is a very good one, especially for people buying used aircraft. I remember a few years ago someone purchased an R22 that was a couple of years old. When he landed at an airport it was impounded due to unpaid bills that the previous owner had incurred with that airframe.

It may not seem very fair at all, but it seems to be the way the law is written.

Ian
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 01:52
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Doesn't help now, but for future: What about an insurance policy for this sort of thing ie the hirer defaulting leading to your a/c being impounded?

Add the cost of it into your operating costs and consider it just one of the many costs of doing business.

Not sure if this insurance is commonly, or even easily, available but I'd be surprised if it couldn't be had.
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 01:52
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Doesn't help now, but for future: What about an insurance policy for this sort of thing ie the hirer defaulting leading to your a/c being impounded?

Add the cost of it into your operating costs and consider it just one of the many costs of doing business.

Not sure if this insurance is commonly, or even easily, available but I'd be surprised if it couldn't be had.
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 05:51
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I hope that your lawyers are taking a point on Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights: the operation of section 88 in your case is a disproportionate interference with your property rights. The argument should be that section 88 has to be read down so as to ensure compliance with Article 1. See R v A [2001] 2 WLR 1546 and R v Lambert [2001] 3 WLR 206.

Last edited by FNG; 24th Apr 2002 at 06:20.
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 05:51
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I hope that your lawyers are taking a point on Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights: the operation of section 88 in your case is a disproportionate interference with your property rights. The argument should be that section 88 has to be read down so as to ensure compliance with Article 1. See R v A [2001] 2 WLR 1546 and R v Lambert [2001] 3 WLR 206.

Last edited by FNG; 24th Apr 2002 at 06:20.
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 06:22
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As a customer of Comed's who regularly flew 'IA', the chipmunk in question, I have to say that I was checked out on it by a Comed instructor, booked it from Comed and flew it from their dispersal area.

However at no time was I lead to believe that it was Comed's aircraft. It was always made clear to me that the aircraft was privately owned and leased out to Comed. That to me does not make it Comed's aircraft.

I have dearly missed flying IA because of the Chippie's in the North West it is by far the sweetest, and was aware of the impending litigation but not the details. Frankly I am horrified at what the airport is doing.

Most importantly though is the precedent set by this. Quite simply if the airport win, then the available fleet of light aircraft operated by flying schools nationwide will be decimated overnight. No private owner in their right mind is going to let their aircraft out to a school if it is going to be taken off them in the event of the school failing.

I hope your case goes well, but I also hope that in the meantime you get all light aviation societies and private owners to support your position. You also want the GA press to be publishing details of this once it is settled.
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 06:22
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As a customer of Comed's who regularly flew 'IA', the chipmunk in question, I have to say that I was checked out on it by a Comed instructor, booked it from Comed and flew it from their dispersal area.

However at no time was I lead to believe that it was Comed's aircraft. It was always made clear to me that the aircraft was privately owned and leased out to Comed. That to me does not make it Comed's aircraft.

I have dearly missed flying IA because of the Chippie's in the North West it is by far the sweetest, and was aware of the impending litigation but not the details. Frankly I am horrified at what the airport is doing.

Most importantly though is the precedent set by this. Quite simply if the airport win, then the available fleet of light aircraft operated by flying schools nationwide will be decimated overnight. No private owner in their right mind is going to let their aircraft out to a school if it is going to be taken off them in the event of the school failing.

I hope your case goes well, but I also hope that in the meantime you get all light aviation societies and private owners to support your position. You also want the GA press to be publishing details of this once it is settled.
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