GECAS terminates lease on six SkyEurope aircraft

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Troubled central European budget carrier SkyEurope Airlines has had six of its aircraft taken back by US lessor GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), although the airline says it has struck two financial deals and is continuing to operate.

Last month SkyEurope said it was working to resolve a payment default with GECAS which, according to Flight's ACAS database, owns most of its 14 Boeing 737-700 aircraft.

Today SkyEurope says GECAS terminated the lease of six aircraft with effect from 8 January. It adds: "The aircraft have been returned to GECAS. The aircraft capacity has been replaced and SkyEurope continues to operate all scheduled flights."

GECAS was not immediately available to comment.

The airline says it has also struck a deal with Gibraltar-based entity Longstock SAPO, extending the deadline for the first instalment of a €10 million ($13.5 million) bridging loan which the two sides agreed on 11 December.

Longstock SAPO, a co-operation between Athens-based SAPO International and Lisbon's Longstock Financial Group, emerged late last year as an investor for the carrier.

SkyEurope has been seeking to release cash held by its credit-card acquirer, E-Clear UK. It says the financial firm has agreed to continue releasing money from credit card sales based on flown revenues, providing it with ongoing liquidity.

"According to SkyEurope's records, approximately €10 million of flown revenues are held by E-Clear UK," says the airline.

At the end of its financial year in September, SkyEurope's figures showed that it had just €1.3 million in cash and cash equivalents.