Thai 'transgender airline' grounded over finances

Months after taking to the skies with Thailand's first transsexual air crew, fledgling carrier PC Air has suspended services over financial troubles that left passengers stranded in South Korea.

"The airline informed the Department of Civil Aviation on Friday that they cannot operate their charter flights due to business problems," Thai Deputy Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt told AFP.

"So it will suspend its services," he added.

The move is expected to last until at least the end of the month.

PC Air hit the headlines earlier this year when it hired four transgender cabin attendants in a highly publicised recruitment drive to operate charter flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong and other Asian destinations.

But the privately owned carrier drew less welcome attention last week when its only aircraft was unable to take off from Seoul's Incheon Airport because the company could not pay its service and fuel fees.

PC Air has blamed its South Korean agent for the unpaid bill, which left several hundred passengers stuck in Seoul.

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