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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Airline vows to rise above delays
Air Scotland has been hit by delays
Air Scotland has offered reassurances over its future
Air Scotland has been trying to play down fears over the company's future after delays and cash problems.

An aircraft was grounded in a row over unpaid fuel bills and a plane chartered to clear the backlog of flights went back to Poland in another cash row.

Rafael Barber-Llorente, a lawyer for the airline's owners, said: "We are completely convinced we will go on."

He added that the firm, which has just been the subject of a full takeover, had settled more than 1m in bills.

Mr Barber-Llorente represents Cooper Consultants, owners of Greece Airways which operates Air Scotland.

The company had a 50% stake in Air Scotland but has completed the purchase of the remaining 50% from Dhia Al-Ani, the Iraqi-born founder.

The lawyer said: "Almost immediately it became clear that Air Scotland was in greater debt than we had originally thought."

Mr Barber-Llorente, who said that debts of more than 2m had been uncovered, told reporters that an audit of the company's accounts had been ordered.

Despite Greece Airways transferring $40,784 into their bank account that morning, the pilot refused to fly to Spain and returned to Warsaw empty
Rafael Barber-Llorente
Air Scotland lawyer

He stressed that a "normal service" had started again and said: "The new owners want to expand. We have paid since Thursday debts of around 1.3m euros and about $400,000.

"The new owners would not have done this if they were not completely confident that Air Scotland was a good airline."

Money problems emerged on Thursday as the takeover talks neared completion.

Glasgow airport
Passengers were stranded at Glasgow Airport

The company's only plane was grounded in a row over unpaid fuel bills and a charter aircraft brought in on Tuesday to clear a backlog returned to Poland after a dispute over payment.

A spokesman for Fischer Air Polska, the airline chartered to fly stranded passengers to Alicante, said at the time: "We have thrown away a lot of money because we paid for our fuel, for air control, for the landing fee, etc, etc.

"It was a big cost for us. It was our first deal with Air Scotland and the last with this airline, I hope."

But Mr Barber-Llorente hit back at the Polish airline, saying: "Despite Greece Airways transferring $40,784 into their bank account that morning, the pilot refused to fly to Spain and returned to Warsaw empty."

The flight had been due to leave Glasgow at 0810 BST on Tuesday but finally departed at 2020 BST.

Mr Al-Ani has not been available for comment.


SEE ALSO:
Budget airline hit by new delays
18 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Budget airline 'sorry' for delays
17 Oct 05 |  Scotland


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