In September 2021 an Absolute Enforcement agent attended an airport in London. Armed with a High Court Writ for a debt against an international airline, the High Court Certificated Enforcement Agent headed for the airline check in desk and spoke to the ground handling Enforcement Agents for the airline where he asked to speak to the airline representative.
The airline representative was airside at the time of the call but advised that he would come landside as soon as he could but had to deal with the flight which was departing.
The High Court Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) waited at check in where 2 members of the ground handling team came and spoke with him. The Enforcement Agent advised the staff of his intentions and was told that one member would try and hurry the airline rep while the other stayed with the agent. It was at this point that the agent believed that the staff were trying to slow the process and the airline wanted the plane to depart. On contacting the office, the High Court Enforcement agent (Bailiff) was told to escalate enforcement and to stop the aircraft from departing.
The Enforcement Agent made his way to Security and spoke to Security Management where he showed the High Court Writ and explained that he intended to ground/seize the aircraft to force payment. The security staff were extremely helpful and contacted the relevant staff that could authorise such an action. Armed Police arrived with another member of airport security team. Soon after, the airline representative arrived, and the Enforcement Agent was led away from Security and down to an office. The airline representative called the airlines legal department where he spoke to their head of legal. The Enforcement Agent was told that the airline had filed for bankruptcy and would not be paying the debt. The bankruptcy was to allow the company to restructure.
The Enforcement Agent again believed that the airline was trying to stall and not to pay the debt and that if the aircraft was allowed to depart, he would not be able to enforce the judgement and the claimant would then lose out! The Enforcement Agent spoke to the Airport Management Team and the aircraft was grounded under the direction of the Enforcement Agent.
A further call was made by the airline representative to the airline’s legal team who informed them that the aircraft had been grounded. The phone was then passed to the High Court Agent who spoke to the legal team and he explained his actions. He explained that the airline was still operating therefore had the capacity to make a payment and satisfy the judgement. The legal team agreed to pay the debt but under protest. The Enforcement Agent accepted her protest and informed them that they could take matters further through the courts if they wished to do this.
After the airline agreed to pay, the Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) was led to an office suite. After several calls to different departments within the airline, payment was eventually made by bank transfer to the client.
The aircraft was then released from control and allowed to fly, much to the relief of the passengers.
It doesn’t matter how high they fly, airlines can be brought down to earth with a bumpy landing with a High Court Writ!