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Latino Daily News

Friday June 22, 2012

Spanair Airline Founder Dies, Age 69

Spanair Airline Founder Dies, Age 69

Photo: Gonzalo Pascual

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Gonzalo Pascual, former co-owner of Spanish travel and tourism conglomerate Grupo Marsans, died at his home in Madrid after suffering a heart attack, his associates told Efe on Thursday. He was 69.

Grupo Marsans went bankrupt in 2010, spawning multiple lawsuits against Pascual and co-owner Gerardo Diaz Ferran.

Pascual was in his early 20s when he founded his first company, in 1964, and came to prominence in 1985, when he and Diaz Ferran bought the company then known as Viajes Marsans.

Three years later, Grupo Marsans created Spanair airline.

Another Marsans passenger carrier, Air Comet, acquired Aerolineas Argentinas in 2001, which Pascual and Diaz Ferran later tried to sell to the Argentine government only to see Buenos Aires re-nationalize the originally state-owned airline.

Marsans sold 95 percent of Spanair to Scandinavian Airlines System in 2003 and a subsequent attempt to buy it back failed.

Air Comet suspended operations in December 2009 amid debts of nearly 160 million euros ($201 million), sending Grupo Marsans into a rapid downward spiral.

In June 2010, as Grupo Marsans was approaching bankruptcy, Pascual and Diaz Ferran sold the conglomerate to Posibilitum Business for 600 million euros ($754 million).