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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Positive news after EUjet failure
Murcia airport, Spain
Many EUjet passengers were stranded at Murcia airport in Spain
An offer of help has been made to up to 700 people facing redundancy after the collapse of the company which ran EUjet and Kent International Airport.

The Thanet Community Development Trust said it is working on a number of schemes to help them find employment.

PlaneStation had its shares suspended on Monday and went into administration on Tuesday, meaning more than 5,000 passengers were left stranded abroad.

Administrators said there was a lot of interest from potential buyers.

Andrew Conquest, from the financial group Grant Thornton, said he was "looking to sell the business [PlaneStation] as a going concern".

That would involve a company coming in and buying the airport at Manston and its facilities.

We're trying to put something positive back and give people something to focus on and benefit from
Sue Houghton, Thanet Community Development Trust

Mr Conquest said there had been expressions of interest from a "variety of sources".

"We've got a very good group of people and a large investment that the company [PlaneStation] has made over recent years.

"The routes that were operated by EUjet must be an attraction."

Mr Conquest said he would be reviewing PlaneStation's cost structure, but added that employees, including airport ground staff and air traffic controllers, had so far been paid up until the end of July.

The future of EUjet and its employees will be handled by an administrator from the Republic of Ireland.

Some stranded passengers have managed to make their way home, but others have told of people "diving for other flights" at airports.

Manston airport
Work has virtually ground to a halt at Kent International Airport

Rival airlines like easyJet and Monarch Scheduled, and Eurolines coaches, have stepped in to fly people home, but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has called for more passenger protection.

The government is facing pressure to extend the Air Travel Operators' Licensing scheme (ATOL).

The Federation of Tour Operators said: "Package holidaymakers have long enjoyed the protection of the successful ATOL system which refunds and brings customers home in the event of operator failure."

Some EUjet passengers would not have been covered by ATOL and would be left "out of pocket" by having to pay to get home, the federation said.

The CAA said a 1 levy on all air travel tickets would be enough to protect passengers from the failure of scheduled airlines.


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