About 22,000 passengers with bookings on some 220 flights have been left stranded after Spanish airline Spanair folded.
The last few years have not been easy for the airline. A Spanair jet crashed on take off in Madrid in 2008, the worst disaster in Spain in 25 years, killing 154 passengers (eighteen survived).
As soon as the news broke that Spanair went under, EasyJet launched its new Madrid-Bilbao route three weeks early for a special fare of €50 to help the stranded Spanair passengers reach their destinations.
Ryanair is also offering a €49 rate on 21 mainly Spanish domestic routes for Spanair passengers for travel until February 12 if booked by February 4. In addition, Vueling, Air Europa and Iberia are also putting on special fares.
Spanair had to shut due to a lack of funding and the Barcelona-based carrier employed around 2,000 people and used the services of about 1,200 ground staff.
The airline says it is finalising a deal with IATA to refund passengers holding Spanair tickets.
“This agreement will let the travel agencies refund the complete price to those passengers that paid the ticket in a travel agency by bank transfer or cash,” says the Spanair site.
“All other passengers who bought their tickets by credit card directly at spanair.com or in a travel agency, they will need [to] enquire for refund options with their card issuer.
“The Spanair contact center (telephone number within Spain: 900 13 14 15 and from outside Spain: +34 971 916 047) and our Spanish sales offices in the airports will remain open to attend to customers as far as possible,” the airline said.
Spanair is owned by a northern Spanish consortium and the Catalan government says the “current economic climate” and “European legislation concerning competition” have been major factors influencing its decision to shut down.
The Spanish government has commenced legal action against Spanair for allegedly violating the country’s aviation regulations by suddenly ceasing operations and consequently leaving the passengers technically stranded. If the lawsuit is successful, to add to its woes, Spanair may be fined €9 million.