MADRID Ė Low-cost carrier Air Comet, which flies between Spain and several Latin American countries, announced Monday it is ceasing operations after a British judge ordered its fleet of leased aircraft impounded.
The airline will begin bankruptcy proceedings and request permission from the Spanish government to dismiss all of its roughly 700 employees.
Air Comet, owned by the Marsans group and entrepreneur Gonzalo Pascual, made the decision amid a lack of money to make lease payments on its aircraft.
Union officials say company directors told them Air Comet owes $25 million (17.2 million euros) in lease payments to German-based Nord Bank, which persuaded a court in London to impound the carrierís planes and ban the airline from selling any more tickets.
Air Cometís shutdown comes three years after another Spanish budget carrier, Air Madrid, ceased operations on the eve of the peak period for holiday travel, leaving thousands of travelers stranded.
The carrier owes 7 million euros ($10 million) in back pay to employees, sources with the STAVLA flight attendants union said. EFE