PwC fights to get cash for FlyGlobespan

ADMINISTRATORS of collapsed Scottish airline FlyGlobespan are taking legal action against a firm responsible for the carrier’s online ticket sales.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is pressing ahead with a High Court petition filed around the time when the airline entered administration last month to force E-Clear to reveal whether it holds £35m withheld from the carrier.

A downturn in air travel caused by the global recession left FlyGlobespan short of cash, causing up to 800 job losses and travel chaos for thousands of its customers.

PwC joint administrator Ian Oakley-Smith said PWC had repeatedly asked E-Clear to confirm the level of funds it held that had been received from FlyGlobespan customers. The administrators believe the £35m is excessive in terms of the airline’s actual liability for unflown flights.

“Globespan records indicate some £35m is being held – but no details to support the funds have been provided by E-Clear,” Oakley-Smith said.

“Before Christmas, the administrators requested the funds be placed in a joint account and this request has so far been refused.”

E-Clear, which specialises in handling online credit and debit card transactions, is understood to have wanted to protect itself if Globespan failed and it was left liable to pay those customers who used cards to book flights.

A spokesman for E-Clear told the BBC that it had received the legal challenge, adding it was disputing the total and refunding the claims.

“It’s our view the money is due back to the credit card holders,”?he said.

“Our duty has been to the customer and it remains that way.”

E-Clear had sought proof of the administrators’ claim that £35m was withheld, £20m of it for past flights, but had not received it, he said.