Aer Southeast to refund customers as it postpones launch

Airline which sold flights without licence undertakes to reimburse customers fully

Aer Southeast had been planning to fly from Waterford Airport to Birmingham, Luton and Manchester and began selling tickets for the flights last month.

Aer Southeast had been planning to fly from Waterford Airport to Birmingham, Luton and Manchester and began selling tickets for the flights last month.

 

Aer Southeast, the airline that sold flights without a licence to do so, is returning cash it collected from customers and postponing its July 24th launch.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) recently forced Aer Southeast to stop selling tickets for flights between Waterford and Britain because it did not have the required tour operator’s licence.

Its chief executive, Einar Adalsteinsson, pledged that customers would be 100 per cent reimbursed beginning on Friday.

“It is now clear that we will not be able to launch our service on July 24th as originally planned but we look forward to welcoming our customers aboard our maiden flight later on this summer,” he said.

The payment-processing service used by the airline will transfer customers’ cash back to their bank or credit-card accounts.

Aer Southeast had been planning to fly from Waterford Airport to Birmingham, Luton and Manchester and began selling tickets for the flights last month.

The carrier has not said how much it had collected from customers or how many tickets it had sold. It would say only that the number was “significant”.

Decision welcomed

Waterford Airport said it regretted that the services would not begin as planned and welcomed the airline’s decision to refund customers’ money.

Aer Southeast’s services would have been the first scheduled commercial flights from the airport in more than a year.

Waterford lost the last such service when Belgian carrier VLM went into liquidation in June 2016, ending its flights from the airport to Britain.

Some of the taxpayers’ money that Waterford receives as part of a Government grant to regional airports is conditional on it hosting commercial flights.

Aer Southeast has yet to apply for the tour operator’s licence, which is meant to protect consumers’ money. Airlines must put up a bond that can be used to compensate passengers for cancelled flights and pass a financial fitness test.

Once an airline meets the requirements, the CAR can take just days to grant the licence.

Aer Southeast has not explained why it did not know that it was required to have the permit in order to operate in the Republic.

A Slovenian carrier, Lipican Aer, was due to fly the routes, using a Saab aircraft. As it has an air operators’ certificate issued by another European Union country, it can operate in the Republic, but the CAR’s approval is still required before it can sell flights to passengers.

Mr Adalsteinsson and un-named Irish and Scandinavian shareholders are backing the new airline.

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