Mexican Airline Interjet Hit With $219,450,750 Peso Fine By Colombian Transportation Regulators For Abandoning Dozens Of Passengers, Ignoring Government Orders
Colombia’s Superintendency of Transportation has leveled a $291,450,750 ($61,772 USD) fine against troubled Mexican Airline Interjet (ABC Aerolineas SA de CV) after the airline refused to respond to 64 separate complaints from passengers who received on response from the company on refunds, cancelled flights, itinerary changes, and other problems. The airline did not respond to passengers, nor did it respond to the Colombian government when formally ordered to do so last November.
In November 2020, the Superintendency of Transportation issued a series of orders to Interjet through resolution No. 9755, after receiving a series of complaints from users about problems accessing flight information, changes of itineraries and refunds, among others. The Colombian government ordered the airline to:
- Disseminate a press release indicating to users outlining the channels and schedules available to the airline to receive and respond in a timely manner to requests, complaints and claims submitted by users;
- Present and implement a customer service plan
- Explain to the Superintendency the user service system that it has at the airports where it operates in Colombia.
The airline, which is no longer flying and allegedly owes employees months of back wages and passengers for flights purchased but not flown. According to Colombian tourism industry journal Reportur, Interjet fled Colombia leaving 5,000 passengers affected and owing travel agencies over $8 billion pesos ($2.25 million USD). Despite this, in December, Carlos Roberts, Interjet’s legal representative for Colombia, told the magazine that the airline would be returning to Colombia by the end of April, this year.
Apparently, all of the airline’s 66 Airbus planes are already gone, and the airline may have several grounded Russian airliners, which are not flying. Mexican aviation outlet A21 received a recording from a former Interjet employee, which has since been removed from Youtube, in which former CEO William Shaw allegedly said “When Interjet arrived to the hospital, this patient was already dead…Nothing can save it and I’m going. I am going to the airline I am creating in Africa, or I am going to the airline that I am creating in The Dominican Republic.”
Shaw is currently attempting to start another airline in Colombia called Ultra Air, which would compete directly with Viva Air, an airline he co-founded with three others, a decade ago.
According to Colombia’s Superintendent of Transportation, Camilo Pabón Almanza, Interjet has until February 12 to respond, and should it fail to do so, it faces another fine of up to 500 Colombian monthly minimum wages, and a government takeover of any assets of the Colombian subsidiary.