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France releases Crossair passenger jet

French authorities have impounded a similar Crossair aircraft Keystone Archive

A French judge has decided to release a Crossair passenger jet, impounded in the French city of Nice on Thursday evening.

The release, which was decided by the judge after more than four hours of negotiations with Crossair lawyers, was made public late on Friday by the Swiss regional carrier.

Crossair rejected the judge’s decision to seize the aircraft, saying it was “illegal”. The costs provoked by the impoundment have not yet been calculated.

The arrest

The “arrest” of the aircraft – an Embraer 145 – took place shortly before it was due to take off for Basel on Thursday.

Justice authorities in the French city of Nice were acting on the demand of Holco, owner of the French independent airline, Air Lib, which was controlled by the collapsed Swissair Group under the name of AOM-Air Liberté until late July.

Holco is seeking about SFr90 million is says is owed to it under commitments made to it by Crossair’s former parent, the Swissair Group.

Air Lib said the action had been taken because the non-payment of the money had forced it into a critical situation.

Crossair said it did not believe there was a risk of any more aircraft being seized and that flights to and from France would continue to operate normally.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR