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Insider UK
Insider UK
Peter A Walker

Tony Banks makes legal claim against former Tayside Aviation owners

ARB Aviation has made legal claims against the former owners of Tayside Aviation, over concerns about the safe maintenance of aircraft and the company’s financial compliance.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is investigating a number of engineers for allegedly falsifying maintenance records over a period prior to the sale to ARB Aviation in December 2021. The regulator has the power to both prosecute companies and charge individuals for breaches of the legislation it enforces.

Tayside Aviation is owned by ARB Aviation, a company set up by businessman Tony Banks for that acquisition from husband-and-wife James and Kathleen Watt. He claims to have invested £3m in the business.

ARB Aviation has made formal legal claims under the warranties of the sale and purchase agreement between ARB Aviation and the previous owners.

ARB will argue that the business was significantly misrepresented and overvalued at the time it was sold. It will also highlight the impact this ultimately had on stakeholders in the business, including the 22 staff, self-employed instructors and Dundee Airport.

James Watt was the accountable manager for Tayside Aviation for part of the period being investigated by the CAA, and therefore directly responsible for the safety of the organisation in accordance with applicable regulations.

A statement noted that Mr and Mrs Watt went to the company’s property the morning following the appointment of administrators on 21 April to retrieve an aeroplane they said they owned, flying this immediately from Dundee airport.

A spokesman for ARB Aviation said: “Taking court action is the last thing we want to do, but aircraft safety and maintenance is a serious issue and so is the accounting of money.

“The purchase of Tayside Aviation has been an incredibly frustrating process,“ the statement continued. “All the plans to invest in the business and to grow it have been thwarted at every turn as we have uncovered issues with the maintenance of the planes and the way the money given by students was accounted for.

“We’re investigating all avenues to recover funds and would advise that others suffering a financial loss should also seek legal advice on the best recourse against the previous owners.”

A meeting of the creditors is due to take place on 14 June.

Administrators Geoff Jacobs and Blair Nimmo from Interpath Advisory have stated that the company’s total debt at about £2.5m, including £103,423 worth of unused gift vouchers.

Separately, the administrators are investigating financial moves made by Banks in the run-up to the firm’s collapse, seeking legal advice “on the validity of charges” in his favour and a company he owns, placed against Tayside Aviation.

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