Blue Air of Romania has “paused” all flights. The carrier, which had a busy network of flights from the UK, closed operations on Tuesday afternoon, promising to resume services next Monday, 12 September.
All Blue Air flights from Bucharest to London Heathrow, together with the return legs, are shown as cancelled up to 11 September.
The airline also served Birmingham, Liverpool and Luton.
Blue Air’s bank accounts have been suspended by the Romanian government, which claims it is owed money by the airline.
The carrier has accused the consumer protection authority in Bucharest of urging people to avoid Blue Air. The authority fined Blue Air €2m (£1.72m) for cancelling thousands of flights.
According to the Romania Journal, the transport minister, Sorin Grindeanu has offered five million lei (£900,000) to the national airline, Tarom, to bring home Romanians stranded abroad by Blue Air’s grounding.
The minister said passengers whose flights were cancelled would be able to claim the fare back from Blue Air.
Ryanair’s Dara Brady said: “While Blue Air are ‘suspending’ flights across Europe, Ryanair continues to operate a full schedule with over 3,000 daily flights.”
Blue Air took advantage of the temporary availability of slots at Heathrow during the coronavirus pandemic to start flights to and from the UK’s busiest airport. It is not believed that the airline has long-term rights to the slots.
The carrier is still selling flights, with a trip on Monday from London Heathrow to Bucharest priced at £40 one way.
But experience from other recent small airlines in central and eastern Europe, such as Adria Airways, suggests that reviving a grounded airline is extremely difficult.
The airline schedule analyst Sean Moulton said: “Other brands will take customers away from Blue Air, stalling recovery further.
“What’s more, Wizz Air have announced expansion in Romania this morning with around 30 routes seeing increases in frequencies in the coming months.
“This will further hurt Blue Air.”
The airline’s Twitter account, @FlyBlueAir, has been dormant since 2019.