BALKAN AIRLINES PLAYING PEEK-A-BOO WITH ITS CREDITORS
The game which Balkan Airlines has been playing with the state and cerditors for a long time now, has entered its final stage. Just a couple of days ago LUKoil Neftochim Bourgas blocked through the court the Balkan Airlines accounts with BULBANK and HypoVereinsbank. The reason was the unserviced (and not admitted) debt exceeding USD2MN, accrued towards Neftoimpex - a company which has been recently liquidated.
All of a sudden the air carrier was cornered by the Civil Air Traffic Administration (CATA) with the Ministry of Transport. By the end of November 2000 the government re-scheduled for a 10-year period a debt of the company towards CATA, amounting to BGL28MN, originating from unpaid state fees. In return, as from the date of signing the agreement, Balkan made the committment to pay all current liabilities CATA without any delay.
The management of the national air carrier disregarded that agreement as well and as of January 24, 2001, the newly accrued debt towards CATA already amounted to BGL1.2MN. CATA management warned that should the company does not repay all its outstanding payments, they will refer the case to the State Receivables Agency.
Having in mind all above mentioned shortcomings, it is difficult to believe the information concerning the newly signed contracts of Balkan Airlines for operational leasing of 4 Boeing 737 with General Electric Capital Services (GECAS). First two machines are expected to arrive in February and the next two - in March and April.
It is also difficult to believe the promises given by Gad Zeevi, the Balkan Airlines owner, and Zvi Frank, Executive Director, and their associates that the only goal they have is to develop the company. What could then be the explanation of the drastically increased debts - by BGL133.768MN - for the 15-month period of the new owner's management? As well as of the cancellation of the most profitable activities - the charter flights.