The latest development in the unprecedented news of the seizure of four planes from Flair Airlines is that the company is suing the leasing company that repossessed the aircraft.
Meanwhile, Transport Canada has confirmed to Open Jaw, that by law, the ULCC wouldn’t be able to operate the aircraft even if it could get them back.
Following what its lessor called “months” of missing payments amounting to millions of dollars, as Open Jaw reported, four Flair Airlines aircraft - a fifth of its fleet - were seized by the leasing company at the beginning of March Break.
A ‘he said, he said’ flurry of accusations and denials has followed, with Flair’s CEO accusing the leasing company of collaborating with a major airline to help drive the ULCC out of business, and the lessor, Airborne, denying such claims.
Several media reports now show that Flair has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Airborne and several affiliated companies, claiming the seizures were “unlawful.”
The suit also apparently alleges that the repossession involved breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, and claims, according to CBC, that the lessor “secretly” found a better offer for the Boeing 737 Maxes then “set Flair up” for a default on the leases.
"The seizures were orchestrated in a bad faith and malicious manner that inflicted the maximum possible harm on Flair, including by interfering with its passenger relationships and trust," the statement of claim reads.
The claims have not been tested in court.
Going after financial compensation may be Flair’s only move: Canada’s laws prevent Flair from operating aircraft once seized for default.
Transport Canada has confirmed to Open Jaw that, “Airlines are required to inform Transport Canada if they have received a default notice when the default notice results in loss of custody and control of the aircraft.
"If the aircraft operator loses custody and control of an aircraft, for instance as a result of a lease default, operation of that aircraft by the operator would be prohibited by Transport Canada.”
The ministry spokesperson went to on add in its email to Open Jaw that, “In the case of Flair Airlines, Transport Canada is in contact with the carrier to ensure that all applicable obligations are being met.”