“If an account is protected by bankruptcy, any amounts due pre/post-petition are segregated with a heightened monitoring and legal counsel is immediately engaged."

GLO Airline’s announcement Tuesday that it was suspending flights, including service to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS), was loaded with criticism of its resource management provider, Tennessee-based Corporate Flight Management.

In a news release and through a spokesman, GLO blamed CFM for most of the company’s recent failings, right up to and including GLO filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April. 

“We can’t offer consistent service because of them,” GLO spokesman Jordan Mitchell told the Daily News, “so we’re canceling our flights for the moment.”

GLO had been operating a fleet of three leased 30-passenger Saab 340 twin-engine commuter planes staffed by CFM, the third-party business in charge of hiring, training and overseeing the airline's pilots.

CFM fired back late Tuesday.

“FlyGLO’s press release appears to be riddled with falsehoods, and CFM has instructed its attorneys to send them a cease and desist letter,” a news release said.

CFM spokesman David Lucas said in the release that what GLO contends were failures on his company’s part — to maintain airplanes or staff flights — resulted from the airline's failure to pay its bills.

“FlyGLO’s insolvency and subsequent court filings provide significant evidence that its revenue stream does not cover FlyGLO’s operating costs,” the release said. “CFM has indeed been forced to ground FlyGLO’s aircraft when FlyGLO failed to pay for required maintenance parts and services — a failure due, presumably, to the financial problems expressly disclosed by FlyGLO in its bankruptcy filings.”

Based in New Orleans, the suspension of nonstop regional air service has grounded GLO flights not only to VPS, but also Huntsville International Airport in Alabama, Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, Memphis International Airport in Tennessee, and Shreveport Regional Airport in Louisiana.

According to a report from the News Orleans Advocate, GLO transported 32,300 passengers through Louis Armstrong International Airport last year, and was on track to top that figure in 2017.

Outside of the fray, Okaloosa County's Airports Division, like every other company doing business with GLO, stands to be impacted by its Chapter 11 filing.

Airports Director Tracy Stage said GLO may not have been paying its bills to everyone else, but local officials were making sure the airline's debt to Okaloosa County didn’t mount up.

“We constantly monitor, track, document and perform collections on any debit to the airports system. Reporting occurs at 30/60/90 day delinquent milestones, and currently there are no accounts outside of the 30 day category,” Stage said in a prepared statement. “If an account is protected by bankruptcy, any amounts due pre/post-petition are segregated with a heightened monitoring and legal counsel is immediately engaged. GLO’s account is in this phase with a total outstanding balance of $2,056.70 (includes passenger facility charges).”

The stringent policies and procedures came into play following a debt collection debacle earlier in the decade that wasn’t resolved until the State Attorney’s Office stepped in and threatened to file grand theft charges against Vision Airlines.

Vision Airlines became a tenant at what was then Northwest Florida Regional Airport in December 2010, when Greg Donovan was airports director.

It was airport policy then to collect $4.39 of a $4.50 passenger facility charge from each airline for every paying customer. Vision Airlines didn’t pay its fees for the first 10 months it was in operation at VPS, and ran up a bill of $300,000 before pressure was applied to pay down the debt.

When the airline announced it was suspending service in Okaloosa County in February 2012, it still owed $166,822.

State Attorney Bill Eddins held a press conference almost one year to the day after Vision Airlines ceased local service and announced he intended to file grand theft charges against the airline over $117,689 that remained uncollected.

Just a few minutes before the press conference got underway, the county was notified by Vision Airlines' attorney that the company would pay the full amount owed.

A final payment of $44,000 from Vision Airlines was made to the county in January 2014, according to Okaloosa Clerk of Circuit Courts JD Peacock.

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