It's bad news for anyone who was planning to fly to Latin America from Madrid this Christmas with Air Comet. The airline has effectively collapsed following the decision by an English judge yesterday to stop them from using many of their planes or from selling more tickets. Air Comet was the successor to the disastrous Air Madrid, and the end has come in a similar fashion just before one of the peak periods when many immigrants in Spain head home for the holidays. The owner of the airline, Gerardo Díaz Ferrán, also happens to be the head of the Spanish employers organisation, and Air Comet is not the only problem he has.
Díaz Ferrán has of course been a prominent supporter recently of ultra liberal solutions for Spain's economic crisis, including the freedom to fire people at little or no cost. Unable to do this with his own employees at Air Comet he adopted the pragmatic solution of not paying them for the last few months. He also has significant problems with loans from the banks, one such loan being the cause of the planes being grounded yesterday. Last week Caja Madrid began the process that may lead to Díaz Ferrán being expelled from the board of the savings bank over the non-payment of another loan he had received from them. At least we get confirmation from this that the banks are still lending to somebody, even if it is only members of their own governing body. Having recently forced a vote of confidence in the employers association over his leadership it looks like Gerardo will still be around for a while telling us what is best for the economy. Meanwhile his employees are joining the ranks of the unemployed.