Romania: Blue Air financially grounded
The Romanian low-cost airline Blue Air has suspended its operations, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded across Europe. Insolvency proceedings have been underway since July 2020, and recently the company's problems have increased due to non-refunded tickets for cancelled flights and unpaid CO2 emission certificates. The national press takes the airline management and the authorities to task.
Keeping quiet no longer helps
Business paper Capital writes:
“Unfortunately the tactic of 'silence' is very common in Romania, along the lines: 'Wait until it passes, don't say anything until things have calmed down'. This method worked wonders 100 years ago when there were only three newspapers. But in the age of the Internet things are no longer so simple. ... Any unpleasant situation can quickly come back into the public eye. It's like having rubbish in your living room and sweeping it under the carpet. You don't know when and how many cockroaches will come. But come they will.”
State protecting shareholders, not consumers
The state has failed in its supervising role, businessman Dragoş Dragoteanu criticises in Ziarul Financiar:
“The Romanian tax department did not have time to even take a look at Blue Air before it collapsed. This is the only explanation for the fact that the airline disbursed funds in advance and is now no longer paying anyone anything. All that mattered was shareholders' profits, customers existed only on paper. ... The Romanian state, 'vigilant' as always, is simply incapable of learning how to protect its citizens - as if that wasn't its job. I wouldn't be surprised if in the near future the state allowed Blue Air shareholders to move to a newly founded company, thereby leaving tens of thousands of passengers and the state in the lurch.”