Ghosn flight ‘will harm Turkey’s jet sector’

TC-TSR, a private jet which was used during the escape of ousted Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon through Turkey is pictured in an unknown location, July 5, 2019. (Reuters)
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Updated 05 January 2020

Ghosn flight ‘will harm Turkey’s jet sector’

  • The former Nissan chief flew in secret from Osaka to Istanbul, and from there to Beirut
  • The private jet sector will suffer because of the breach of security, an expert says

JEDDAH: Fugitive businessman Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Lebanon via Istanbul is a “serious blow” to Turkey’s private jet industry, aviation experts said on Sunday.

The former Nissan chief was awaiting trial on charges of misusing company funds and understating his salary, but jumped bail on Dec. 30. He flew in secret from Osaka to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, and from there to Beirut.

“Smuggling this man from Osaka is an internal matter for Japan,” a Turkish aviation expert told Arab News. “But not checking him appropriately in Turkey is our own mistake, and compromised international aviation security.” 

Turkish authorities are investigating a flight from Osaka that landed in Istanbul at 5.15am, and another that left for Beirut 45 minutes later. 

 “The pilot should notify authorities about everyone on the aircraft, and they should be checked in at the international transit section of the airport,” the expert said. “There are no exceptions.”

The private jet sector will suffer because of the breach of security, the expert said. “It will have big repercussions in the short term. Many business jets will now have to undergo a detailed examination once they reach Western airports. 

“They may also have their flight permissions denied for a certain time because they have lost their prestige and reliability.”

About 100 jets operate in Turkey’s private aviation industry. “This incident will seriously undermine the sector,” the expert said.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Ghosn was assisted by a former US special forces operative, Michael Taylor, now working as a private security contractor, who it described as an “expert in the art of clandestine getaways.”
According to the Journal, the Turkish investigation showed that Taylor and another man had traveled from Dubai to Osaka with two large black cases aboard a private jet on Saturday, the day before Ghosn escaped.


UK retailer Debenhams goes into the red again

Updated 10 April 2020

UK retailer Debenhams goes into the red again

  • Debenhams’ 142 UK stores are closed with Britain in coronavirus lockdown

LONDON: British department store group Debenhams went into administration for the second time in 12 months on Thursday, seeking to protect itself from legal action by creditors during the coronavirus crisis that could have pushed it into liquidation.

With Britain in lockdown during the pandemic, Debenhams’ 142 UK stores are closed, while the majority of its 22,000 workers are being paid under the government’s furlough scheme. It continues to trade online.

The retailer went into administration for a first time in April last year, wiping out equity investors including Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, and is now owned by a lenders consortium called Celine UK NewCo. 

Debenhams said administrators from FRP Advisory would work with the existing management team to get the UK business into a position to re-open and trade from as many stores as possible when restrictions are lifted by the government.

Chief Executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste said that he anticipated the firm’s owners and lenders would make additional funding available to fund the administration period.

However, the group’s business in Ireland looks doomed.

Debenhams said that it expected administrators to appoint a liquidator to the 11-store Irish operation, which employs 2,000.

The moves makes Debenhams the first major retail casualty of the health crisis in Ireland, where the government, as in the UK, has closed all non-essential shops.

Ireland on Monday reported a trebling of its unemployment rate to 16.5 percent with a further surge expected later in the month.

“We are desperately sorry not to be able to keep the Irish business operating but are faced with no alternative option in the current environment,” said Vansteenkiste.