Direct Air woes spread

dbryant@thesunnews.comSeptember 29, 2012 

The fallout from Direct Air’s demise continues.

Sky King, a Lakeland, Fla.-based company that provided planes, pilots and crews to Direct Air, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Its president, Frank Visconti, blamed Direct Air for the filing, saying Sky King was owed $1 million by Direct Air, according to a report in the Lakeland Ledger.

“They owed us a significant amount of money when the fuel company cut us off,” Visconti told the newspaper.

Direct Air, which was based in Myrtle Beach, abruptly shut down all its flights March 12 after its fuel supplier refused to fill up any more planes because it hadn’t been paid. Direct Air filed for Chapter 11 the same week, but the case was quickly converted to Chapter 7 liquidation.

Sky King was one of eight carriers that flew the routes for Direct Air. Another one of those carriers, World Atlantic Airlines, was fined $180,000 in July by the U.S. Department of Transportation for abruptly canceling flights without the proper notice to passengers that DOT requires.

DOT has said it continues to investigate Direct Air and its carriers. The carrier’s sudden shutdown in mid-March left passengers – including many golfers and vacationers along the Grand Strand – scrambling to find other ways to get home, with some renting cars. Others who had future flights booked on Direct Air also searched for other transportation.

The bankruptcy court is sorting through Direct Air’s financials. Investigators already have determined that there wasn’t as much money in escrow accounts as there should have been, but are still sorting through the details.

Parking meters end

Drivers wanting to head to the sand or hit the shops and restaurants in downtown Myrtle Beach won’t have to pay to park starting Monday until next spring.

Parking meter season in Myrtle Beach ends Sunday, with crews ready to deactivate the meters Monday. The meters are east of Kings Highway and line most of the avenues from 29th Avenue South to 31st Avenue North and from 69th Avenue North to 77th Avenue North. Myrtle Beach keeps its meters active every year from March 1 through Sept. 30.

Those headed to the oceanfront in Surfside Beach will have to pay for another month. Parking fees in the Surfside Beach lots continue until Oct. 31.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or dbryant@the sunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant

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