Wow! Didn't see this one coming. Charter operator Skyservice ceased operations this morning, stranding thousands of passengers. Good grief, what the heck is happening in this crazy industry?
Here is the full story from today's (March 31st) Winnipeg Free Press:
WINNIPEG — Some passengers are stranded in paradise today, after the sudden collapse of a popular charter airline stunned the travel world.
On Wednesday morning, Skyservice announced it would cease operations immediately, after Ontario's Supreme Court handed the 15-year-old airline over to a receiver. Debt problems and "changes in the Canadian vacation tour market" led to the shutdown, the airline said in a press release. According to its website, the airline flew 20 Airbus and Boeing aircraft and employed 1,200 people. It provided charter flights for major tour operators such as Signature Vacations and SunQuest.
The news came as a shock to many — especially the folks booked for an 8 a.m. flight to the Dominican Republic out of the Winnipeg airport this morning. That flight has been rescheduled for 8 p.m. today while tour operators scramble to find aircraft to accommodate their booked and stranded passengers. By Wednesday afternoon, all of tour operator SunQuest's passengers had been slotted onto alternate flights, the company said in a release.
Winnipeg travel agent Ron Pradinuk said that although Skyservice's sudden death is a big surprise, it will not make a long-term impact on the industry. "These are big players... they've got contacts with airlines all over the world. I'm confident that these major operators will find aircraft for (tourists) by the time they need to return," Pradinuk said. "It's going to be a blip... I don't think it will affect anything a week from now."