NEW YORK – Attorneys for beleaguered budget airline SkyGreece that stranded thousands of passengers in Europe after suspending operations last week have informed the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) that they intend to apply for restructuring under the Canadian Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
Debra McKenna, an attorney with the Toronto-based firm of Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP wrote in a letter to the CTA that: “We are writing to advise that SkyGreece Airlines has filed a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal with the office of the Official Receiver at Toronto.”
McKenna’s letter also addressed the rights of passengers: “The court-supervised restructuring proceedings will ensure that, over the long term, all stakeholders, including passengers, are treated equitably and receive fair compensation for their claims.”
CTV has reported that “Ernst & Young has been named as monitor, which will communicate with creditors and customers of SkyGreece, which was founded in 2012 and started operations in 2014 with one plane.”
Montreal-based travel agent Jimmy Georgiadis says people should check with their travel agencies about insurance coverage and that “Anyone who bought tickets using a credit card directly from the airline is advised to call their credit card company to see if they’re covered.”
In Quebec, those who bought their tickets through a travel agency are automatically protected by a provincial fund that exists to protect travelers,” noted CTV.
CTV conveyed that the Canadian Transport Ministry urged passengers to write directly to SkyGreece and that if they did not receive satisfaction, that they should contact the Canadian Transportation Agency at 1-888-222-2592.
If passengers booked their flights using a registered travel agent they may be eligible for compensation from the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).
Gabor Lukacs, a Canadian air passenger rights advocate who has been in communication with The National Herald, said that he fears passengers will get short shrift given the CTA’s actions to date.
Lukacs declared that the CTA “has really botched the case. I was ready to proceed last Friday and some things could have been done to help passengers, including having the airline provide some security and ensuring that passenger are at least declared secured creditors so they have more options than they now have.”
He said a lien could have been placed on the company’s only aircraft, a Boeing 767-300ER, but the agency, which Gabor said has not been a friend to passengers under the current Canadian government, seemed more concerned with protecting investors rather than the financially challenged people that rely on cut rate airfares.
A mathematician who developed his expertise in air passenger rights after he became frustrated with the actions of airlines he travelled with, Lukacs told TNH he has begun his new effort to master the laws of insolvency in order help passengers address this new phase of the SkyGreece fiasco.
Passengers are not completely up a Canadian creek without a paddle, however. “They still have a substantial claim against the airline, he said.
Lukacs will also continue his research into how things got to such a bad point. “Companies don’t go bankrupt overnight,” and he noted that other airlines have handled bankruptcies in a more reasonable way, and with no passengers being affected.
“SkyGreece showed complete disregard for the passengers,” he said, “and I hope some of those people are held accountable.”