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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Transaero Resumes Flights To London Amid Fee Spat




Russian airline Transaero operated its Friday flight to London as scheduled even as one its Boeing 737 passenger jets remained stranded on the tarmac at Gatwick airport over nonpayment of air-traffic control fees.


However, the Transaero aircraft that flew to London on Friday is in no danger of being impounded, a spokeswoman for Gatwick said in a telephone interview. "There are no instructions to detain any other aircraft," she said.


A spokesman for the British Civil Aviation Authority said Friday that Transaero is currently in negotiation with Eurocontrol, the European air traffic control body, to pay its outstanding dues which he said were "substantial."


"My understanding is that Transaero representatives will meet with Eurocontrol in Brussels next week to agree a payment, and as soon as they do that, the plane will be released," said the official, who declined to be named.


The aircraft was impounded Monday leaving 23 passengers stranded in London. They were put up in a hotel and flown to Moscow the following day. The CAA spokesman said Transaero would likely have to pay parking charges to the British Airports Authority for each day its jet remains at Gatwick. He declined to comment on the size of those charges.


The plane could have been detained at any European airport and Gatwick merely acted on instructions, he added.


Transaero officials refused comment on Friday.


There was no information available on how many passengers travelled to London on Friday's flight but one travel agent said people were not shunning Transaero flights.


"If anything, they are attracted by its cheap fares," she said.


At $220, Transaero's return tickets to London significantly undercut Aeroflot's $280 return fares to Heathrow.


The 140-seater 737 detained Monday had 23 passengers on board. Those passengers were delayed in London for a day before being flown to Moscow on Tuesday on another airline.


Like other Russian airlines, Transaero has experienced tough times because of the financial crisis and has seen passenger volumes drop substantially. Russian carriers receive most of their revenues in rubles but must fork out hard currency at foreign airports.