Zoom collapse hit 65,000 passengers, says CAA

Almost 65,000 passengers have lost bookings or been left stranded by the collapse of Zoom Airlines, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The budget carrier ceased flying last night after the CAA instructed airport owner BAA to prevent a Zoom flight departing Glasgow for Canada. The CAA said it acted on behalf of air traffic control body Eurocontrol over the non-payment of fees.

Zoom had earlier announced it would continue operating despite filing for banruptcy protection in Canada after an aircraft was impounded by authorities at Calgary airport.

The CAA said 4,500 UK passengers were stranded abroad and 60,000 had lost advance bookings. However, Zoom disputed the CAA’s figures, saying only 40,000 were affected – 20,000 in the UK and 20,000 in Canada.

A Zoom spokeswoman could not say how many passengers were stranded abroad. Neither Zoom nor the CAA could say how many passengers might get a refund under the ATOL consumer-protection scheme that covers package holidays.

Most passengers booked with Zoom direct and, if they paid with a credit card, are advised to contact their card company. A minority of passengers who booked a Zoom flight through a UK tour operator or travel agent will have a protected purchase and be entitled to a refund or, if they are abroad, will be able to continue their holiday. The others will have to make their own arrangements.

Zoom Airlines flew from Gatwick, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast to eight destinations in Canada as well as to New York, For Lauderdale, San Diego and Bermuda. It was registed in both Canada and the UK.

The carrier’s founders Hugh and John Boyle blamed the collapse on a combination of the rise in fuel prices over the past year and the economic downturn. However, it was the banking crisis that denied Zoom the credit it need to continue flying.

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