Chicago Sues Interjet More Than $2M Over Unpaid Fees

Mexican airline Interjet is accused of owing $2.56 million in taxes and fees to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The city of Chicago is suing the airline in an attempt to take what is owed. The news was disclosed by Mexican news outlet Reforma on June 16th.

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Interjet is a low-cost carrier based in Mexico. Photo: Getty Images.

Details of the lawsuit

According to Mexico News Daily, a lawsuit was filed against the low-cost carrier on June 9th, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Interjet faces allegations from the City of Chicago that it has breached the terms of a 15-year contract signed in May 2018.

It is alleged that Interjet owes $360,000 in airport taxes accrued between July 2019 and January 2020. Furthermore, Interjet is said to owe $1.7 million in fees for services and storage space plus $334,000 in administrative expenses.

The lawsuit goes on to state that the city notified Interjet of its debts on February 18th. However, since the notification was sent, the airline has yet to act.

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Interjet operates some Russian-made Superjets. Photo: Getty Images

What might happen next?

Interjet and the City of Chicago will participate in a telephone hearing on August 10th.

However, according to Reforma, if Interjet fails to reach a settlement with the city, it risks having its US-based assets and/or bank accounts seized.

Extrapolating from this, it would make sense if Interjet ended its service to Chicago for fear of an aircraft seizure- an action we’ve seen taken in other cases where airlines have unpaid debts.

In recent months we saw Perth Airport block-in a Virgin Australia jet, claiming that the struggling airline owed in airport usage fees.

Last summer, we reported on the case of an Air Tanzania Airbus A220 seized in South Africa. Impounded in Johannesburg, the aircraft was being held due to a claim that the Tanzanian government owed millions to a farmer after it seized private property.

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Interjet has 45 international routes. Photo: Superjet International

In May, we reported that Interjet is suspected of attempting to obtain protection from creditors through a Mexican bankruptcy proceeding, equivalent to Chapter 11 in the US. Interjet claimed that the information was false and that it is not looking for any help nor protection from the Mexican justice system.

In response to the allegations, the airline issued a statement saying:

“It is despicable that in this crisis [… some are] willing to pay for a dirty campaign against our company and board with the publication of messages and commentaries that do not picture the current state of our organization.”

The airline goes on to say that it is renegotiating terms with leasing companies and that some aircraft lease prices are over current market conditions. Secondly, the airline said that it decided to leave IATA’s Clearing House, not the other way around. Finally, it said that it is paying its taxes in Mexico.

Do you think Interjet has any solid defense against the allegations? Let us know in the comments.

Simple Flying reached out to Interjet, requesting comment regarding the Chicago lawsuit. However, no response was received at the time of publication.