Collapsed airlines' stranded staff return to UK
STRANDED Flyglobespan crew will return to the UK today following the failed airline’s sudden collapse.
Almost 30 employees will join thousands of holidaymakers attempting to make their way home for Christmas after all flights were cancelled.
Administrators for the Globespan Group are meanwhile investigating why around £30 million from credit card bookings failed to reach the struggling company from a third-party agent.
It was announced yesterday that 550 of 650 Flyglobespan staff will lose their jobs with immediate effect, with 100 being kept on as the business is wound up.
PricewaterhouseCoopers said the remaining 27 of 60 crew left stranded abroad will return home today.
They, along with Flyglobespan customers, have been taking advantage of extra flights and special fares laid on by rival airlines.
Unite said the collapse was a "tragedy" for travellers and for staff who face a Christmas without pay.
Brian Boyd, the union’s national officer for civil aviation, said: "Along with thousands of passengers stuck overseas, the Flyglobespan employees have been thrown into a Christmas of misery with no wages and no job."
Flyglobespan operated flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen as well as transatlantic services from other UK airports including Manchester, Gatwick and Belfast.
The Globespan group went into administration after failing to secure extra funding to keep it afloat.
An estimated 3,400 holidaymakers were left stranded in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Egypt.
Around 1,100 customers of Globespan package holidays were also left abroad, but they are covered by the Civil Aviation Authority-run Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Atol) scheme which guarantees refunds and return flights.
The collapse has highlighted the need for the kind of review of air travel consumer protection that the Government instigated earlier this month.
Hazel Morgan, 49, from Symington, Ayrshire, was due to travel to Tenerife on a 7am flight yesterday from Glasgow with her son Jason, 11, and daughter Rochelle, 22.
She said: "It’s very disappointing, especially for Jason as it was his Christmas present and we were due back on Christmas Eve.
"I feel let down."
Thirty Flyglobespan crew members are stranded in the Muslim holy city of Medina in Saudi Arabia.
The airline had a contract to carry passengers between Delhi in India and Medina for the Hajj pilgrimage.
Flyglobespan captain Bob Lee revealed that the crew members have been confined to their hotel for at least four days because, as non-Muslims, they are not allowed to move around the city.
He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme that crew members were unable to get seats on flights out of Medina because of the huge demand.
Capt Lee said 1,000 Flyglobespan passengers from India were also trying to find alternative flights home, adding to the difficulties facing the crew.
Katrina McBride, from Fife, told the BBC News website: "My daughter and a number of other crew who work for Flyglobespan are currently based in Saudi and India - who’s looking after them? Who will bring them home, when and how soon?
"We are currently in limited communication with my daughter who is in a state of panic. She has already phoned, crying her eyes out worrying about what will happen, who will pay her hotel bill as she been working out there for almost six weeks?"