Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1889 times:
Gary - bloody awful pic that, especially after it had been blown up 200 times! This story was prompted by our friend F_boot, who as you see made a rather fortuitous appearance above - he gloatingly sent me copies of the emails from the journo concerned.
In the interests of truth and a complete story (something that seems to be rather lacking over at the Daily Record/Sunday Mail) - I append my response to them:
This has to be one of the worst researched, written and edited pieces of rubbish masquerading as news that I've seen since The Citizen during the heights of apartheid in South Africa.
I've provided my comments in bold after each relevant paragraph.
THE man behind Scotland's first international airline is a failed pilot linked to a trail of broken businesses.
Neil Robertson, 35, claims his firm, Caledonian Wings, will pioneer flights from
Prestwick to the USA and Canada.
Last week, he claimed he was buying Tristar jets which would be flying across the Atlantic by Easter.
But the closest Robertson has come to being an airline tycoon was running two clapped-out freight planes from a dusty airstrip in Africa.
Even that ended in disaster. Seven months ago, both planes were blown up by explosions which killed more than 100 people.
Wrong - both aircraft were damaged; according to my partner, Mike Snow, one has since been repaired and is fully operational.
The Sunday Mail can also reveal that Robertson, who calls himself "The Guvnor", has been involved in more than 10 "airlines" - few of which ever made it into the air.
10?!?! - Four, actually, three of which were operational! Also, it's nice to have confirmation that whoever originated this load of codswallop originated it from PPRuNe
His bases have included a string of war-torn African countries notorious for diamond and arms smuggling.
My past bases have been Ostend (Belgium); Lagos (Nigeria); Calgary(Canada); Johannesburg (South Africa) and Bujumbura (Burundi). Not one of those countries could be said to be "notorious for diamond and arms smuggling".
Fife-born Robertson, whose only pilot's qualification is a lapsed licence he
bought in Nigeria for pounds 60, returned home to set up Caledonian Wings.
Nope, I've got Nigerian, Burundian and South African licences.
Plugging the firm on TV and in the Press, he said it would be Scotland's first international airline. Prestwick's managing director, Tom Wilson, was persuaded the new airline could get off the ground.
To the best of my knowledge, it has never been 'plugged' on the TV. Nor have I 'plugged' it in the press - I have simply answered questions as they were posed by the Press.
He said: "If it gets the planes and finance to start up, there is no doubt it will work.
"We would welcome transatlantic flights back with open arms. It would be a major stimulant for the Ayrshire economy."
Nothing to argue with there - seems spot on to me!
But despite publishing ticket prices and advertising for staff, Robertson's airline
has no aircraft or pilots.
Perhaps the Sunday Mail/Daily Record would like to cover the cost of having aircraft sitting around doing nothing?
The company's "switchboard" is Robertson's mobile phone, while the "office" is
a laptop computer.
So? Not only will we be taking full advantage of the latest technology to allow all our staff to "work smarter, not harder" as it says on our website; but it also enable me to be in constant contact wherever in the world I may be. Perhaps this particular journo still uses a tin can on a bit of string and an old Imperial as the tools of his trade!
And the Civil Aviation Authority has never heard of him or his firm .
The website makes it very clear that we're going to buy an existing company - this obviates the need to apply for our own AOC and Operating Licence - and saves very substantial amounts of time. Strange that they should be saying that they've never heard of us though - as I've had several meetings with both the SRG and ERG on this project!
On his website, Robertson claims he will be raising pounds 350million to buy and overhaul 44 Tristar airliners.
No, that figure also includes the financing required for the upgrade project, which won't happen for a couple of years
He has boasted of creating 250 jobs at Prestwick with direct flights to Orlando,
New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Washington DC and Boston for as little as pounds 165 return.
Last week, he said he was close to clinching a pounds 30million deal with US airline giant Delta to buy three of its ageing Lockheed Tristars.
Three?!?! That's for the whole Delta package! - plus I didn't give them a fugure, either; and in any case it's wrong!.
The "deal" was to have led to Robertson buying the airline's entire fleet of 295-seater jets.
Don't think too much of the Sunday Mail's subeditor - he's left this glaring inconsistency with the previous sentence in!
He boasted: "We will have no problem filling our seats. It will be carriers like British Airways who will feel the pinch when we start up. As long as we can conclude this deal with Delta, we will be flying by Easter."
That's complete rubbish - I never said that at all! Added to which, BA doesn't even operate transatlantic services from Scotland!
But a senior Delta source revealed: "The last time this news came out, I checked and the reality was we have never actually talked with them.
"We run up against this sort of thing on a regular basis. It enhances their public
perception and, in a lot of cases, enhances negotiations with governments and
others to say they are talking with Delta Airlines."
In reality, we've been talking for some time with their Director of Aircraft Sales - with whom my partner had a very fruitful meeting with in ATL some 12 days ago.
Yesterday, an official Delta spokesman said it was their policy not to identify
firms involved in buying aircraft until the deal was complete.
Again, the subeditor seems to have left in a glaring inconsistency with the previous sentence!
Robertson's last HQ was an office at Bujumbura Airport in Burundi.
Nope, it was in the Affimet complex, in Bujumbura.
He was involved at various levels with "airlines" in Equatorial Guinea, Uganda,
Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nope, Burundi, South Africa, Canada and Nigeria.
The area is notorious for its civil wars, corruption and lawlessness.
Robertson's firms included City Connexions, SecureAir, FreshAir, TransOceanic,PegasusAir, Lionair, Skymaster Freight,Trans Lloyd Cargo and Africargo Airlines.
SecureAir, FreshAir and PegasusAir were all 'service brands' created to cover particular specialities of Africargo - valuables, perishables and livestock (especially horses) respectively. TLC was the previous operator of the CL44s; and Skymaster is the company that now owns one of them.
But only Africargo operated any aircraft. It was run by Robertson and another of his firms, City Connexions.
Yet another inconsistency - the journo just said that 'only Africargo operated any aircraft'! In any case it's untrue - City Connexion had several Let 410s, one of which is pictured on the company's website. Strange that the journo missed that, as he got most of the pix used in the article from the City Connexion website!
Africargo's two propeller-driven freight planes, built in 1961 and 1964, were destroyed at Kinshasa Airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo in April.
Turboprops actually - powered by Rolls Royce Tyne engines - but who's arguing? Both were damaged; one has since been repaired and the other is being repaired at the moment.
The inferno was blamed on a soldier dropping explosives. At least 100 people died and 200 were injured.
Shortly before the catastrophe, City Connexions were also grounded, with Robertson blaming it on "political problems".
The First Vice President of Burundi fell out with the Belgian owners of the group - he's a hard-line Tutsi that wanted to impose 'ethnic cleansing' against the Hutus, and the Belgians were opposed to this.
The Civil Aviation Authority said anyone wanting to run an airline in the UK would need both an Air Operating Certificate and an Operating Licence.
But a CAA spokeswoman said yesterday they had not been contacted by Caledonian Wings or any other firm Robertson has used for his latest venture - Celtic Airways, Celtic Aviation, Celtic Caledonian, Wings Holdings or the
Of course not - as I said above, we're planning on buying an existing company with those documents already in place - as it clearly states on the website!
Unfortunately, it seems that this particular rag is well known for its tendency for fiction rather than fact. I've requested a retraction from the editor - together with an apology - but I have to say I'm not holding my breath.
F_boot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1834 times:
Unfortunately there is a lot wrong with the article, however your "scathing" rebuttal is even worse.
- Well great to see that you finally know what happened to "your" CL44´s Guvnor. However you never "ran" them.
- Please tell us what companies you were involved with in Ostend and in Calgary? I assume you had Canadian work authorisation?
- Well you have admitted to having fraudulently obtained a Nigerian ALTP, you did manage to qualify for a South African PPL, but how did you manage to get a Burundi licence?
- You have claimed to have had aircraft registered in Equatorial Guinea. CCA claims to have operations in Democratic Congo. You have been involved with Busy Bee in Entebbe, Uganda. And please tell us more about Canada.
- Whoops, those CL4´s again. Make up your mind, did you/do you own them, did you/do you operate them?
Now Neil I have but a couple of questions for you.
1) Why is it that some weeks ago, when I presented various bits of information to this forum, which were quite able to be found out about on the net, you emailed me privately, and in veiled words, threatened me with legal action. Do you remember this? If not, just let me know, as I still have the email here. But now we are in a situation where a paper has printed an article, and you are asking them for a retraction and apology. Why aren't you screaming blue murder and threatening legal action to the paper as easily as you did to me, coz the Sunday Mail has a larger readership than the airliners.net forum, and it is also published in the area of your customer base.
2) Canada? You have never mentioned a Canadian operation. If you have the time let us know a bit more about it.
F_boot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (13 years 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1795 times:
How about looking at Ceilidh's credability this way:
Born in October 1965.
Left St.Crispins in 1980.
Worked for Laker for 1 year.
Claims to have attended university starting 1983.
Qualified for MSc in Child Psychology. Qualified for MA in Transport. (He refuses to provide any verification.)
Worked for Air Atlanta.
Managed Holiday Air in Calgary.
Managed TransOceanic in Nigeria, and simultaneously logged 4000hrs on B707 and DC8, without having any previous flight crew licence.
Not bad going to fit all that in before turning 30.
Arrives in South Africa in 1993.
Qualifies for South African PPL. (Why did he have to train from scratch if he already had 4000hrs?)
Attempts to start LionAir. ("But someone stole my business plan and started Phoenix with it...")
Creates the Africargo fright empire. (He refuses to provide any proof that any flight was ever undertaken for Africargo.)
Successfully manages CCA in Burundi. (3 Let410's flying 35hours per month before he arrives, operation seized by the government causing him to flee the country. Not very successful.)
He has no independantly verifiable history that agrees with his claims about himself.
And yet we must believe that he is the new Richard Branson now?
Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 10, posted (13 years 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1770 times:
Scott - rest assured that the matter of this article has indeed been passed to my solicitors but frankly there's not a lot in there to go on other than inaccuracies. No actual libel (except possibly in the headline) has been made.
Freeboot - I've counted no less than six errors in your last post. I certainly don't have to provide any 'proof' of anything that I've done (or not, as the case might be) except to those with a legitimate interest. You have no legitimate interest - after all, as an anonymous person, we don't even know who you are!
Since you declined to answer the question about your role in the article, I'll tell everyone, shall I?
Fwd: Celtic Airways/Africargo
Wed, 22 Nov 2000 10:52:51 -0800 (PST)
Oh dear Neil, can you guess what have we told them?
wrote: > Subject: Celtic Airways/Africargo
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2000 15:42:22 +0000
> I would be extremely interested to hear of any
> information about the above
> companies or their CEO - a man you appear to have
> some knowledge of.
> Celtic are aquiring a great deal of publicity in
> Scotland, all favourable.
> There is, I believe, a different side to this story.
> I have already gathered a great deal of information
> about the companies and
> CEO but I am convinced you have information which
> you would prefer was more
> widely known.
> As you'll see from the e-mail tag, I work for
> Any correspondence between us will, of course, be
> completely confidential.
> You have my word.
> IMPORTANT NOTICE The information in this e-mail is
> confidential and should
> only be read by those persons to whom it is
> addressed and is not intended
> to be relied upon by any person without subsequent
> written confirmation of
> its contents. Furthermore, the content of this
> e-mail is the personal view
> of the sender and does not represent the advice,
> views or opinion of our
> company. Accordingly, our company disclaim all
> responsibility and accept
> no liability (including in negligence) for the
> consequences of any person
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> In particular (but
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F_boot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (13 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1753 times:
Only six errors Ceilidh?
You´re the one who has claimed these things about yourself.
When you enter onto a forum and make claims about yourself you must be able to back those claims up, not just say "it´s not your business". You told us about it, so you made it our business.
Proove you are what you say you are.
Caravelle From Norway, joined Aug 2000, 666 posts, RR: 1 Reply 12, posted (13 years 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1727 times:
Maybe F-boot AND Ceilidh would emerge, please? Ceilidhs LOI from a few weeks back has not been mentioned since (that smells, incidentally), and, F-boot, a few of us here at the Forum would like to know a little something about yourself. I have no reason to distrust any of you, but somehow F-boot gathers all points....
I may be wrong. but I don't think so.
Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 13, posted (13 years 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1717 times:
F_boot - I'll make you a deal - you disclose your true, verifiable identity together with your motives and I'll be happy to answer whatever questions you have. BTW, I recounted. You made eight errors, not six.
Caravelle - my identity isn't hidden - check my profile! You can email me directly if you like. The LOI is still bouncing back and forth (don't forget that the Americans had Thanksgiving last Thursday); but I can report that my partner had a very positive meeting with Delta's Director of Aircraft Sales.
F_boot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 14, posted (13 years 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 1690 times:
Well you know my questions, you always refuse to answer. Your identity isn't hidden, but no-one in actually knows you. You've told us all these wonderful things about yourself, but hen refuse to allow them to be independantly verified.
We have a mutual friend in Burundi who will be checking on your claimed Burundi licence in the next few days. Seeing as how you admit to a fraudulently obtained Nigerian ATP licence I'll be interested in what comes of this one.
Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 15, posted (13 years 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 1675 times:
Those that [b]need[/b] to know, know. Those that don't. don't.
Whist we're at it, what do you know about Microsoft Publisher produced Sierra Leone plus Liberian and Equatorial Guinea licences which are issued by some bloke in England - not in those countries?? How many of these licences do YOU hold, and why?
F_boot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 16, posted (13 years 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1669 times:
Interesting, you are a man who acknowledges that he has obtained fraudulent professional qualifications.
You claim to have registered aircraft in Liberia and Equatorial Guinea, and then protest that the issuing authority is crooked. At least act coherently.
I certainly think the CAA will issue an AOC to a company fronted by someone with an acknowledged history of misrepresentation.
Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 17, posted (13 years 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1647 times:
Er no, Freeboot, dear boy - I never registered any aircraft in Liberia or Equatorial Guinea. Mike Snow did.
So, back to the question - what do you know about Microsoft Publisher produced Sierra Leone plus Liberian and Equatorial Guinea licences which are issued by some bloke in England - not in those countries??
A330 From Belgium, joined May 1999, 649 posts, RR: 8 Reply 19, posted (13 years 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 1613 times:
I am quite interested in how this Airline will take-off.
To be honest, 44 tristars operating from Prestwick???????
Are the Stage3 Guvnor? Otherwise, I'm afraid that you might be somewhat limited in airfields in the near future.
This whole operation just doesn't seem realistic to me, they will without any doubt start small with one or 2 planes, and then see if there IS a market.
Another thing? Is it true that pilots must bond 30.000£ to the airline, paid back in 3 years (to avoid running after the type-rating I suppose)
What happens if you go belly-up after a while??? Not critisizing, merely asking.
Anyway, starting business in Africa is never easy, I know, I lived there and close relatives had several companies in Central and East Africa.
Dreaming of creating my own passenger airline in the future in Central/East Africa (Entebbe as hub), I am anxious of the progress and introduction of Caledonian Wings.
by the way, do people remember Exalibur Airways, the "first" scottish long haul carrier?
Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 21, posted (13 years 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1596 times:
A330 - Of course the L1011 is a Stage III aircraft - unlike some of the older DC10s and B747s. The Scottish operation will start with three aircraft - the figure of 44 refers to the whole Delta package, of which only 30 or so will be kept with the balance being used as a parts source.
If the company goes under whilst crews are still bonded, they don't owe a cent. (And it's US$30,000, NOT £30,000). The sole reason for doing this is, as you correctly pointed out, to ensure that people stay with us for a minimum of three years.
Actually, the first Scottish long haul operator was Highland Express - Excalibur started from Birmingham from the ashes of TEA UK!
Goeingboeing - I don't have much of a social life!
Scotty From UK - Scotland, joined Dec 1999, 1875 posts, RR: 3 Reply 22, posted (13 years 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 1586 times:
Excalibur the first Scottish long haul carrier? I dont think so. Don't you recall the ill fated Highland Express?
And way back in the mists of time, a guy named Adam Thomson first gave flight to his much respected Caledonian Airways in Scotland. Eventually became BCAL of course until such times as Maggie Thatcher reckoned that the free market was OK as long as BA got all of it.
A330 From Belgium, joined May 1999, 649 posts, RR: 8 Reply 23, posted (13 years 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1577 times:
Saw the website, and it looks quite professional, with A LOT of information, so I invite anyone to go to Ceilidh's profile and click the website mentionned.
I was sceptical about the operation, but now I am genuinly interested in it's progression.
They even got salary lists for their future employees (they look GREAT by the way... who knows, I 'd certainly like to fly a REAL plane oneday...)
Oh well, let's see what comes of it!
BTW. Ceilidh, thank you for your corrections and information concerning my post.
Caravelle From Norway, joined Aug 2000, 666 posts, RR: 1 Reply 24, posted (13 years 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 1579 times:
Sceptic, indeed. Me too.
I wish Neil all the best, this world needs people with guts (not to be taken literally if you're fond of the brew, Ceilidh), but I can't help wondering if his is a dream scheme more than a theme scheme.
I do wish F_boot could provide some further info on his role in this thing. Just mistrust, professional grievance - or what?
As for Neil, my honest opinion is (regrettably) he'll never fly. L-1011s, no matter where they come from, are things of the past. And Prestwick, no more than Oslo, is the centre of the world.
Hope I'm wrong, though...
Trains and boats and planes....
25 Ceilidh: Caravelle - fair comment; and at the end of the day it's going to come down to two groups of people with money: the financiers and the passengers. We'
26 F_boot: Hmmm. Remember the quote of Turner Boswick, the General Director of Let, after the Ceilidh's "deal" for the Let610 aircraft under the name of City Con
27 Caravelle: Neil - is the Gothenburg connection still on? F_boot: Can you show your face? - caravelle
28 TWAneedsNOhelp: I don't know how credible LET's word is. They just went out of business.
29 Brissie_lions: Neil You mentioned some time ago something about a Canadian operation you were involved with. I asked you if you could provide us with the name of thi
30 Ceilidh: Scott - your assumptions are actually wrong. I was at Harrow prior to St Crispins, and I certtainly wasn't in "full time employment from 1981 on". Act
31 Ceilidh: Sorry, it's 2.12 am - I was at Harrow after St Crispins.
32 Ceilidh: ... and MInstD means "Member of the Institute of Directors".
33 VC-10: I haven't read all the posts but wasn't Caledonian Airways (Prestwick) Ltd the first scottish international airline ?
34 Granite: Hi Neil Once you have got off the ground, I think you need to invite Brissie_Lions over to Scotland and give him a first class seat on your first flig
35 Lowfareair: I was surprised by this article, then I decided to look at the other headlines for the Sunday Mail(sorry about the capitals people, but that's how it
36 A330: F_boot's post is a disgrace for the forum, I for one DO NOT want this forum to become a tabloid full off gossip aimed to discredit people. Please del
37 Ceilidh: Tino - you're spot on there. Just run a search on F_boot and you'll see that each and every posting has been an attack. I know that it's him behind th
38 LHMark: Until now, I've fastiduously avoided posting on any threads concerning Neil or Caledonian wings. But I'm gonna break my own rule. I like Neil. He brin