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Sat, Jul 14, 2007

Airline Apologizes For Leaving Pax Stranded For A Week At JFK

Glasgow Airport Attack Delayed Replacement Aircraft

Talk about a change in flight plans. A jet belonging to Scottish budget carrier Flyglobespan was struck by lightning June 28 before a scheduled flight to Ireland while sitting at John F. Kennedy International Airport -- and subsequently grounded.

A replacement aircraft could not be sent from the carrier's home base in Glasgow  because of the heightened state of alert following the attempted terrorist attack at the Glasgow Airport, according to the Belfast Telegraph, and more than 200 passengers were left stranded at JFK.

The last of those passengers didn't make it home until a week later.

The carrier has "apologized profusely" for the delays and inconvenience to its passengers and said the terrorist attack incident "misplaced much of our fleet and crew and severely hampered our ability to mount an earlier rescue flight."

Several of the passengers on the flight complained they felt abandoned by the carrier and had little choice but to find their own way home at their own expense.

The airline's chairman, Tom Dalrymple, insists company management looked at the problem from all angles and safety was always their top priority. He places some blame on outsourced ground handlers for failing to effectively communicate the situation to affected passengers.

It appears the company responsible for ground services, Swissport, ignored many of the carrier's instructions about the situation, according to Dalrymple.

Ireland West Airport, the destination of the flight, said it welcomed the apology. Airport officials met with airline management Thursday to discuss the situation.

The carrier has a system of flight refunds for affected passengers who were not taken home by the airline and says it will launch an investigation.

There have been no reports of comment by Swissport.

"When the dust settles on all of this we will have an internal inquiry into a number of things and how our handling agents performed will be one of them," said a spokesperson for Flyglobespan.

FMI: www.flyglobespan.com, www.knockairport.com. www.swissport.com

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