Viking aircraft impounded at Gatwick for unpaid debts

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An aircraft belonging to Viking Airlines sister carrier, Viking Hellas, was yesterday impounded at London's Gatwick airport for non-payment of fees.

Viking Airlines has temporarily ceased operations and returned its aircraft to the lessors while it restructures and downsizes its business.

A spokesman for the carrier said yesterday that the Viking Hellas division would take over the flights that were scheduled to be operated by Viking over the coming weeks. He stressed that the carrier was "not in liquidation".

But in a statement issued today, Gatwick Airport says: "We can confirm that a Viking aircraft was detained by Gatwick Airport yesterday (18 October) as a result of an unpaid, long-standing debt owed by Viking Group.

"Gatwick did not take this action lightly, but after months of chasing payment without success it became apparent that this was, regrettably, the only option left to recover the monies owed. The aircraft was released last night following the receipt of payment made by Viking Group."

Viking could not be reached for comment.