The Hong Kong Airport Authority is considering selling off the aircraft, owned by a defunct Russian airline, after it failed to pay outstanding parking fees, according to a court document.
In a rare move, the city’s aviation bosses are seeking to claw back money owed by Transaero Airlines, enforcing the Airport Authority Ordinance, which empowers them to put up for sale a detained plane whose owner defaults on charges.
But whatever amount the aircraft may fetch, under the ordinance it is unlikely that the authority will be able to pocket the entire windfall.
A spokeswoman for the authority said that the aircraft in question was currently still at the airport, but gave no details about sales arrangements. It is understood the sell-off would be the first time the ordinance had been invoked against a commercial airline.
In April, the authority announced that the 24-year-old Boeing 767 had been detained since late December last year, after Transaero failed to pay an unspecified amount of outstanding parking fees.
Assuming the erstwhile carrier has not paid the parking fees for the past eight months, the unpaid dues, by a Postestimate based on the airport’s rates, could amount to more than HK$2 million.
Russia’s one-time biggest private airline was heavily indebted and the Moscow-based carrier eventually ceased operations in October last year.
Flight UN965 took off from Moscow Domodedovo airport for Hong Kong, arriving on October 26, a day after the airline’s air operating licence was revoked. It was the Russian airline’s last flight.
Following the sanctions, the aircraft was grounded and left languishing in the city, awaiting progress on the winding up of its parent company.
The Airport Authority has revealed few details about efforts, if any, to pursue the outstanding amount. In the financial year that ended on March 31, airport charges, including parking fees, totaled HK$4.1 billion, representing nearly 23% of Hong Kong International Airport’s total revenue.
About two months after making the public announcement, the authority proceeded to apply for the High Court’s approval to sell the plane.
Officially, the proceeds of the possible sale would have to be used to pay the parking debt incurred by the airline, and the amount left over would pay off any claimants who need to be compensated for losses. (Ruaviation/Business World Magazine)