Icelandic-owned Sterling Airlines collapsesFinancial crisis and rising fuel costs to blame

30 October 2008

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Sterling Airlines has announced that it will file for bankruptcy – the latest casualty in a growing list of failed airlines.

All Sterling Airlines flights from London Gatwick to Copenhagen, Stockholm and Billund (Denmark) have been cancelled, leaving hundreds of passengers across Europe seeking alternative travel plans.

Around 30 airlines have already folded this year and low-cost carrier Sterling Airlines is the latest in a long list to cease trading.

Passengers NOT stranded at Gatwick

BAA confirmed that all six flights scheduled to leave Gatwick airport on 29 October had been cancelled but told Which? Holiday that contrary to some media reports, hundreds of passengers had not been left stranded at Gatwick Airport .  

Gatwick Airport says only a very small number of passengers arriving at the airport in the morning were unaware of the Sterling Airlines situation and that most had already been contacted by the airline.  

Icelandic ‘melt down’

In a statement on its website the Danish based airline has blamed rising fuel costs and the ‘melt down’ of the Icelandic financial system as the reason for its closure.  

It also stated that due to its heavy expansion activities it was more exposed to what it viewed as a stagnating market, later made worse by an airline industry that had been hit by decreasing demand.

The airline says that despite negotiations with potential investors it was 'impossible to make ends meet' and that were left with 'no option but to file for bankruptcy'

Can you get a refund?

The Sterling Airlines website makes it clear passengers who have booked their tickets directly with the airline will not be entitled to a refund from the airline.

It advises passengers who have paid using a credit card to contact their provider direct and any customers who have booked through a travel agency or tour operator to contact that travel agent or tour operator.  

Passengers who have travel insurance polices that cover airline insolvency should contact their insurance provider.