Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lack of bids leaves fate of Airbus plane up in the air

The Legal Execution Department yesterday decided to call off the auction of a 270-seat Airbus aircraft. 

The future of the aircraft, which had been scheduled for auction with a starting price of Bt30 million, is now unknown after Legal Execution Department cancelled the auction after no bids were received. 

The Airbus plane became the first commercial aircraft up for bidding after it was seized in a civil lawsuit filed by the law firm Watson Farley and Williams Co (Thailand) against Asia Connect Airline and its executive Sakkarat Chanthraporn.

Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, director-general of the department, said the auction had previously attempted to sell the aircraft on five separate occasions but no one had submitted a bid despite a reduction of the starting price by about 70 percent, or Bt21 million. 

The department also decided to cancel the sixth auction scheduled for December 20. 

“The department will hold a meeting of creditors to learn whether they want to reduce the price or to continue the auction. For the time being, they have asked for 10 days to consider the next step,” she said.

The starting price of the aircraft was reduced during the five auctions in accordance with the department’s auction rules. 

A representative of Watson Farley and Williams had previously said the firm did not know what to do if no one wanted to buy the aircraft, as the defendants had said they had no other assets to pay their debts.

A winning bidder would also have to pay Bt10,700 per day in rent for the plane’s parking space.

That fee reached Bt4.2 million in September. 

The aircraft belonged to the air charter firm PC Air, which hit the headlines after the plane was impounded at Incheon International Airport in South Korea over a failure to pay fuel and airport fees, stranding more than 400 passengers. 

The aircraft last trip was from South Korea on January 13, 2016, after which it was impounded as the firm filed for bankruptcy. 

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