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Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Stranded Air Comet passengers in hunger strike threat

Air Comet passengers protest at Madrid's Barajas airport. Photo: 23 December 2009
Many Air Comet passengers have been stranded for the past two days

Some passengers stranded at airports in Spain and Latin America are threatening to go on hunger strike after Spain's Air Comet suspended all its flights.

About 7,000 people are reportedly affected after the airline's fleet was grounded this week by Spain's officials over its failure to pay debts.

The low-cost Spanish carrier owes 17m euros (£15m) to Germany's Nord Bank in lease payments, according to AFP.

Air Comet says it is seeking to lay off all of its nearly 700 employees.

The Madrid-based company - which specialises in cheap flights to Latin America - also says it has filed for bankruptcy.

'Thieves'

Many of Air Comet's passengers have been stranded for the past two days after Spain's authorities revoked the company's licence.

"No-one has given us any information. Nothing has been said to us. We paid for our tickets and we are waiting without any information," one woman at Madrid's Barajas airport was quoted as saying by Euronews.

Dozens of angry Air Comet customers blocked the entrance to Barajas's Terminal 1.

They described the company's management as "thieves", according to the AFP news agency.

About half a dozen passengers from Colombia and Ecuador are reported to have already begun a hunger strike, according to Euronews.

Spanish officials say they are trying to arrange alternative transportation plans for the affected passengers.

Air Comet is owned by Spain's Grupo Marsans.

The parent company said this week that a London court had constrained Air Comet from using any of its air planes and ordered the company not to sell tickets.



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