The operators of a zero gravity flight experience have been forced to hand back around CHF160,000 ($157,000) to clients following several delays to the heralded service. Swiss Space Systems (S3) has been plagued by financial problems and a violent attack on its boss.
The Swiss News Agency has reported that internet firm QoQa demanded the refunds for 160 customers who bought tickets through its portal. The affected customers bought advance tickets in anticipation of a high altitude, zero gravity flight that simulates flying in space.
“We have had this money for two years and we have had three delays to the flights,” QoQa boss Pascal Meyer told the Swiss News Agency. “It is no longer possible for us to hold onto this money. It goes against our ethics.”
In September, Swiss Space Systems chief executive Pascal Jaussi issued a statement admitting that his company was facing financial difficulties, but said the problems were being addressed with fresh capital injections. He denied media reports that the firm was being investigated by the financial regulator for money laundering suspicions.
Jaussi was the victim of a vicious assault in August during which he was set on fire by his attackers. Police are still investigating the incident.
According to the company’s website, the S3 ZeroG flights will take place at several destinations around the world from next year. Passengers on an Airbus A340-300 will experience several seconds of weightlessness during a series of parabolas performed by the aircraft.
Swiss Space Systems told the Swiss News Agency that it will contact QoQa customers again next year to offer the same discount terms for the flight that they had initially paid.
swissinfo.ch with agencies