Airport grounds National Airlines aircraft

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed October 31, 2016 15:57

Airport grounds National Airlines aircraft

Officials with the St. John’s Airport Authority say a National Airlines flight is being kept on the ground under a court order because the Orlando, Fla.-based company owes a substantial amount of money to the airport. A National Airlines aircraft landed in St. John’s at 6:28 p.m. on Friday, inbound from Orlando. But the scheduled return flight to Florida was cancelled.  In a release, St. John’s Airport Authority said the plane “will not be released for service” until it receives the outstanding payments.

By Sunday afternoon, a notice on the airline’s website stated: “We regret to inform you that we are cancelling several flights in November and December and have decided to not extend our service to St. John’s beyond Jan. 6, 2017.”

The airport authority said it had “exhausted all avenues to collect these payments prior to obtaining this court order,” and, although the action was necessary, it “understands and appreciates” the impact it may have on passengers.

The St. John’s Airport Authority has also filed an application to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador under Section 9(2) of the Airport Transfer Act, which regulates unpaid fees from an airline to an airport.

The section allows airport officials to file an application to seize an aircraft if they have reason to believe the plane or the person liable for the unpaid fees will leave Canada and allows a judge to make a decision without a defence being present.

The application is scheduled to be heard today at 10 a.m.

National had been operating weekly flights to Orlando since January, and initially held a partnership with Provincial Airlines but that ended in the spring.

The airline flies out of St. John’s, Windsor, Ont., Orlando and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed October 31, 2016 15:57