WATERFORD AIRPORT’S NEW international flight operator has been ordered to stop taking customer bookings after Ireland’s aviation authority discovered it was trading without a licence.
Recently founded airline Aer Southeast announced last week that it was bringing the first commercial flights to the regional airport in a year with flights to London Luton, Manchester and Birmingham airports.
The airline had been marketing fares starting from €79 to the UK destinations since last Monday. The flights, using a 34-seat Saab 340 turboprop aircraft, are due to start from 24 July.
However the Commission for Aviation Regulation, which regulates the travel trade in Ireland, has told the carrier to stop selling tickets because it hasn’t obtained the necessary tour operator licence.
The state-backed agency said it issued a letter to Aer Southeast to cease trading “as soon as the commission became aware that (the airline) intended to arrange and offer for sale a new service”.
The airline’s parent company, Skytruckers Ltd, was founded just two months ago and lists Waterford Regional Airport as its address, while its chief executive and sole director, Einar Adalsteinsson, has an address in Denmark.
Last week a spokeswoman for Waterford Airport said that the airline will operate under a lease agreement with a European carrier that holds an Irish air operator certificate. The current issue relates only to the airline’s ability to sell tickets.
In a statement today, Aer Southeast said that “significant progress” had been made in resolving the issue regarding its tour operator’s licence.
A company spokesman said the airline wanted to assure existing customers that their money was secure, and that bookings should be available again “in the coming days”.
“We wish to assure them that we will be doing everything possible to ensure that we are in a position to begin our scheduled flights as already announced,” he said.
The Aer Southeast spokesman told Fora that people would get their money back if for some reason flights did not go ahead as planned.