December 9, 2022

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The MFA announces that over 620 Romanians affected by the cancellation of Blue Air flights have requested support to return to the country

Requests came from countries such as the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain.

The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Radu Mihail Filip, told News.ro that by Tuesday, at 11:00 p.m., more than 620 Romanian citizens had requested the support of the Romanian Government to return to the country.

“The MAE informs that, until this moment, reports have been received from Romanian citizens affected by the cancellation of flights from the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Israel, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. From the information held by the MAE at the moment, more than 620 Romanian citizens have requested the support of the Romanian Government to return to the country”, stated the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to News.ro.

He reminded that in the context of the crisis generated by the cancellation of flights of the Blue Air airline company, a telephone line (0040751084537) was activated and an email address was made available ([email protected]) dedicated, to which Romanian citizens abroad can notify their situation. Also, the affected Romanian citizens can contact the nearest diplomatic mission or consular office of Romania in the state in which they are located (https://econsulat.ro/Home/DateDeContact).

The Blue Air company announced on Tuesday the suspension of flights scheduled to take off from Romanian airports until Monday, September 12, 2022, after the Environmental Fund Administration ordered the blocking of its accounts, due to debts of over 28 million lei, representing the value of 54,230 greenhouse gas emissions certificates related to carbon dioxide emissions generated in 2021

Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă said on Tuesday that, according to estimates at that time, there are approximately 3,000 travelers stuck in foreign airports.

The Minister of Transport, Sorin Grindeanu, stated that the Government will allocate, on Wednesday morning, 5 million lei to the TAROM company, to send aircraft to bring home the Romanians affected by the Blue Air company’s decision to stop flights until Monday. Later, the Government will go against this company, in order to recover the amount of money, but also the other arrears for which the Environmental Fund Administration has attached the accounts.

Blue Air has canceled all flights until Monday

There was chaos on Tuesday night in Romanian airports, after the Blue Air company announced that it was canceling all flights. Thousands of people found out about the decision only after they arrived at the airport, and some only discovered at the boarding gate that they could not leave.

It is the first time in 30 years that an airline has been unable to pay its operating costs and 20 planes have been grounded.

And that’s because the authorities have blocked Blue Air’s accounts for a debt of almost 30 million lei – unpaid taxes for the airplanes’ carbon emissions.

Passengers desperately looked for solutions, but found out that everything has become more expensive – from plane tickets, to taxi drivers’ rates…

Many Blue Air passengers came to Otopeni from the province, or even from other countries, for the flights that should have taken them to work abroad.

Most received no explanation. Others have been told to wait until Monday because then flights will be unlocked. However, during this period no one knows where they will stay, what they will eat and most importantly, how they will get to work abroad.

People now hope to recover the money they spent – “We paid 700 euros for both tickets, and now finally after many attempts we managed to book a single ticket for 750”

The government decided on Tuesday evening to deal with Romanians abroad and who had return tickets with Blue Air as a priority.

For this, those affected by the suspension of Blue Air flights to Romania must call (+4) 0751-084.537. Only after the data will be centralized, the Government will order their bringing into the country.

The chaos was created after Blue Air could no longer pay for anything that goes into operating the flights, such as – for example – aircraft fuel and airport taxes.

The company said that it got into this situation because its accounts were blocked by the Ministry of the Environment, and it can no longer use its money.

The minister says Blue Air has not paid its aircraft carbon emissions tax, according to European regulations.

Tanczos Barna, Minister of the Environment: “He has a debt of over 28 million lei, he is in the foreclosure procedure, which is why he proceeded according to the law to recover this debt. The decision to suspend is unjustified, the blocking of accounts does not justify the suspension, I demand that Blue Air resume flights immediately, I demand that Blue Air request the rescheduling of the debt.”

However, the low-cost airline accuses that: “(…) this blocking of Blue Air’s bank accounts came shortly after the public statements and direct incitements of “stop buying Blue Air tickets” propagated in the public space by a high-ranking representative of the State of Rome, respectively the President of the National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) of the Romanian State”.

According to the same statement, the statements of the ANPC president led – among other things, to the destruction of passengers’ confidence in BlueAir and generated losses for the company of over 5 million euros, by reducing ticket sales. At the same time, the discussions BlueAir shareholders have with two companies willing to invest in the company would have been blocked.

Horia Constantinescu, ANPC president: “I recommended that they be cautious. I didn’t say buy or don’t buy. But more than that, I was saying that sometime in the fall they are preparing their exit from the market. They stopped paying supplier invoices, probably out of a desire to capitalize as much money as possible”.

Blue Air also owes the Bucharest Airports National Company and will also have to pay parking for aircraft that have not taken off the ground

Valentin Iordache, spokesperson for Bucharest Airports: “The Blue Air company has debts at the airport, but this was not a reason for the cancellation of these flights. They have accumulated over the last few years and are significant.”

Blue Air is in a difficult financial situation and is recording losses of hundreds of millions of lei. Recently, the company was fined 2 million euros by the Consumer Protection for canceling almost two hundred thousand bookings between April last year and April 2022.

BlueAir flights are suspended – according to the company – until Monday.

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