Monday, January 16, 2012

Vinapco may lose money owed by bankrupt Indochina Airlines

Vietnam Airlines' jet fuel arm Vinapco said it might not be able to recover the 24 billion dong ($1.14 million) it lent to the now bankrupt Indochina Airlines (ICA).

Tran Huu Phuc, Vinapco's general director, said ICA's owner, song-writer Ha Dung, told him even if Vinapco sued him, there would be nothing he could do. It is the third year that Vinapco hasn't been able to recover ICA's debt, Phuc said.

Vinapco has considered bringing Ha Dung to court, but the possibility of recovering the debt is "still unknown", he said. The situation is getting worse since ICA has had its licensed revoked recently, Phuc said.

Vinapco repeatedly sent documents and contacted ICA in an effort to settle the unpaid debt in 2009. It brought Ha Dung and his company to the Hanoi Economic Court at the end of 2010.

But since Ha Dung was absent in the first trial, and did not send any authorised representative, the court failed to issue any verdict. Vinapco then brought the lawsuit against Dung to a court in HCM City, but the final result has yet to come out.

Last July, the HCM City People's Court issued a verdict asking Ha Dung to pay $1.3 million to Asia Commercial Bank before declaring bankruptcy. Ha Dung has been banned from travelling abroad since.

As of last year, ICA owed around $70 billion ($3.6 million), 800 million dong ($41,000) of which was owed to 35 travel agencies in Hanoi.

These creditors are also considering lawsuits.

ICA's flight license early last month was officially revoked by the Ministry of Transport because the carrier hadn't operated for 12 months.

ICA, the first Vietnamese private carrier to obtain a license, in May 2008, was established by composer Ha Dung, who also acted as the airline's general manager.

It began flying on November 25, 2008 with 2 leased Boeing 737-800 aircraft. But it hasn't flown since November 2009 because of financial problems.


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