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Contract dispute with Las Vegas airline grounds loaded jet plane

In an interesting step, commercial litigation over a contract dispute with a Las Vegas airline led a judge in another state to order one of the airline's fleet of jets grounded -- stranding at least 130 passengers who were set to take flight. A day later, there was confusion whether the Vision Airlines, the airline involved in the litigation, had gotten the plane back, with the company that sold it the engine claiming that it was still under control of the county sheriff.

The contract dispute is over payment for a jet engine that Vision purchased from CTS Engines. After Vision allegedly fell behind nearly $75,000 in payments on the engine, CTS filed suit. On Jan. 7, the judge presiding over the contract dispute ordered the plane containing the engine seized by the local sheriff's department. The plane was scheduled to fly a load of 130 passengers that afternoon, with three other stops on its itinerary; an executive with Vision says that more than 400 customers were affected by the seizure.

The spokesman said that CTS overreacted to a relatively minor contract dispute and did not get any closer to resolving the dispute. For its part, CTS said in a statement that Vision "chose not" to catch up on its payments, which would have allowed its flights to go uninterrupted. The 130 passengers were eventually put on a flight with another airline and the rest of Vision's flight schedule has been readjusted.

The status of the 737 the judge ordered grounded is unclear as of Jan. 8. Vision said it had the jet back, but a sheriff's deputy said his department was still holding it and had not received orders to release it.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Legal dispute disrupts flight from Pinellas for Vision Airlines passengers," Will Hobson, Jan. 9, 2013

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