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Flair Files $50 million Lawsuit After Four Aircraft Seized
Canadian carrier Flair Airlines is following up on the seizure of four of its aircraft by filing a $50 million lawsuit against Airborne Capital and several affiliated companies. As reported by Airline Geeks the airline’s passengers were subjected to cancellations during the spring break holidays by the seizure of the aircraft.
In a statement issued this week, Flair Airlines stated, “Airborne Capital’s unlawful and immeasurably destructive actions were taken on the first weekend of many of our customers’ school breaks. This is profiteering on the backs of Canadians and was entirely unexpected and unwarranted.”
According to Global News, the statement of claim alleges the seizures were ‘non-compliant with the leases’ agreements.’ The claim for $50 million in damages is “for breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith in contractual performance, negligent and/or fraudulent misrepresentation, wrongful seizure, conversion, and conspiracy.”
The conspiracy claim appears to relate to a belief by Flair that one of its main rivals was conspiring with Airborne Capital to lease the aircraft in an attempt to impede the Edmonton-based airline which is Canada’s third largest carrier. “We’ve come in and upset the cozy duopoly, and as a consequence, people want us out of business,” said Flair chief executive officer Stephen Jones in a press conference on Monday. “We do believe that there were negotiations going on behind the scenes between one of the majors and the lessor to hurt Flair by them offering probably above-market rates for the aircraft we’ve been leasing.”
“While I’m not going to name names or cite evidence,” Jones said, “I believe that there is much more to this picture than the surface that you see.” Global News sought comment from Canada’s two largest airlines Air Canada and WestJet. A spokesperson for Air Canada is reported as saying the airline had not been in contact with ‘any of Flair’s lessors, “nor have they come to us offering their aircraft.”’ WestJet did not respond immediately to the news organization.
Jones did acknowledge on Monday that payments for the aircraft leases were ‘“only a few days in arrears” with about $1 million owing.’ Airborne Capital has disputed this in a statement to Global News saying that the carrier was “regularly in default” with missed payments adding up to millions of dollars. “Terminating an aircraft lease is always a last resort, and such a decision is never taken lightly. In this case, following numerous notices to Flair, it again failed to make payments when due and Airborne took steps to terminate the leasing of the aircraft.”
Flair is continuing operations with its 19 remaining aircraft which Jones said is “100% caught up” on payments. There was an acknowledgment by Jones that reacquiring the seized aircraft “would be tough.”
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