Go to contents

Takeoff Cancelled, Airliner Seized!

Posted August. 23, 2005 03:28,   


For the first time, a jumbo jet has been seized. The property of Phuket Airlines, a Boeing 747-300 airliner stationed at the Incheon International Airport, was seized in compliance with the Incheon District Court on August 22.

Two court bailiffs drove a ramp vehicle in the early morning and climbed up to the entrance to slap a yellow seizure notice sticker on the jet.

That a jumbo jet belonging to a foreign airline was denied operating permission just before takeoff and then seized is an unheard-of incident at a Korean airport.

Reasons for the Seizure-

Phuket Airlines planned to discontinue its Korea-Thailand route due to fiscal irregularities, dropping off the last passengers from Bangkok, Thailand, to Incheon International Airport on August 10. During this process, Phuket Airlines did not pay off its liabilities to Korean airlines and related businesses, resulting in protesting Korean creditors filing for the seizure of the jumbo jet.

The Phuket Airlines plane was scheduled to take off at 11:00 a.m. on August 10, but was delayed due to Korean firms refusing to supply fuel and onboard meals because of a 200 million won debt that needed to be reimbursed by the airline. The airline then attempted to promptly leave the country on August 19 after writing an obligatory affidavit to the companies, but this time, TV Club, a Korean sales company responsible for all transactions between Thai and Korean flight arrangements, called into question Phuket Airlines’ ticket problems.

Prior to this incident, TV Club filed for the seizure of the jumbo jet on August 11, saying, “A unilateral annulment and abortion of an exclusive sales contract without compensation is unfair.” TV Club claims that the indemnification Phuket Airlines owes totals 1.2 billion won, with one million being the exclusive sales contract deposit and 200 million for passengers’ damages due to flight delays.

The Law Concludes-

Accepting TV Club’s petition, the Incheon District Court requested the cancellation of the said charter’s flight permission just before takeoff on August 19.

The courts concluded, “Phuket Airlines must file for the suspension or cancellation of execution after rectifying the airliner and depositing the contract expenses and reparation for losses,” and immediately dispatched the bailiffs.

The Airline Says…-

Phuket Airlines retorted, “We have not received all of the ticket bills from TV Club so there is no debt to liquidate.” The airlines called in the flight crews, as well as flight attendants stationed in Korea on August 20 for the jumbo jet retrieval, and has currently closed down its domestic office.

A new airline that was established in January 2001, Phuket Airlines invested in chartered planes on its Korea-Thailand route since June, but decided to relinquish operations when the figures did not add up. After its commission, frequent overdue arrivals created friction between the company and Korean passengers.

TV Club says, “Progress in the original lawsuit for reparations from Thai courts is expected, since the seizure was accepted.”

Sources speculate that sparks from the property seizure of a foreign airline could blaze into an international problem.

Meanwhile, the jumbo jet was revealed to have been chartered for transporting Japanese defense personnel stationed in Iraq back home.

Hee-Jae Park min07@donga.com