Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Icelandic-owned airline bankrupt

A Sterling aeroplane
Other airlines have been helping to get Sterling passengers home

Up to 700 passengers have been left stranded at London's Gatwick airport after an Icelandic-owned airline said it would file for bankruptcy.

Sterling Airways, which is based in Danish capital Copenhagen, blamed the Icelandic financial collapse for making its owner unable to continue funding.

All Sterling flights have been cancelled, including services from Gatwick to Copenhagen and Stockholm.

The budget airline was owned by Iceland's Northern Travel Holdings.

Sterling also flew from Gatwick to Billund in Denmark - home to the original Legoland.

Services from Edinburgh to Denmark had already stopped for the winter.

A spokeswoman for Gatwick said there were between 500 and 700 passengers affected - though the BBC understands that most did not turn up for their flights.

"A Sterling representative is here and is handing out leaflets explaining the situation," the spokeswoman added.

'Impossible'

"Over a three to four weeks period, the whole [Icelandic] financial system melted down, and that resulted in our shareholder being unable to continue his support to the company," Sterling said in a statement on its website.

"Negotiations have been conducted with several potential investors, but it was impossible to make ends meet."

Sterling is just the latest airline to end operations in recent months. Others have included XL Airways and Zoom.



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