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Spanish airline Futura suspends flights

Flights cancelled

Another day and another airline in trouble as Palma Majorca based charter airline Futura International Airways suspended flights today and filed for administration.

Futura has a fleet of 38 Boeing 737s and claims to be the largest independent medium haul charter airline in Europe. It operates flights between Palma and a number of UK airports including Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool John Lennon, Glasgow, Bournemouth and Belfast International.

Once again, Futura's problems seem to stem from high oil prices. It may also have been affected by the lower number of British tourists flying to Spain because of the weakness of the pound against the euro. Last month Futura introduced pay cuts for its 1,200 employees.

A sign that the airline was in financial difficulties came when it reportedly moved its fleet of aircraft back to Palma on Sunday night, probably to ensure that they were not grounded due to unpaid bills.

However, unlike other airlines that have got into trouble recently, Futura plans to resume flights tomorrow. It is believed to have until the end of this week to outline its financial position and plans to the Spanish transport ministry. A decision should then be made about whether Futura can continue flying.

Futura was founded in 1989 and Irish airline Aer Lingus was one of the original stakeholders, although it sold off most of its share in 2002 and the rest last year. Futura International Airways still has an Irish subsidiary airline, Futura Gael, which has also suspended its flights. Futura Gael operates charter flights to the Mediterranean and eastern Europe.

Last year Futura had a turnover of 334.6 million euros, an increase of 14% and carried 3.7 million passengers, 28% more than the previous year.

Written by: Nick Purdom