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Passengers stranded as airline folds

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Hundreds of passengers were left stranded across Europe following the collapse of another budget airline.

Icelandic-owned Sterling filed for bankruptcy as its home nation's economy went into meltdown.

As flights were cancelled, the airline warned passengers who booked direct though their website would not be able to get a refund unless they paid with a credit card or had suitable travel insurance.

Two flights to Billund in Denmark - home to the original Legoland - were scrapped at Gatwick airport as well as three to Copenhagen and one to Swedish capital Stockholm.

Sterling also flew from Edinburgh and East Midlands airports, although its Edinburgh flights to Copenhagen and Stockholm ceased for the winter earlier this month.

A Gatwick spokeswoman said: "There are about 500-700 passengers involved. A Sterling representative is here and is handing out leaflets explaining the situation."

Sterling is the latest in a line of carriers that have ceased operation in recent months. Others have included XL Airways, Zoom and transatlantic luxury airlines Eos, MAXjet and Silverjet.

On its website, Sterling said its management had been fighting to keep the company alive. It went on that this battle had "not had a positive outcome".

© The Press Association 2008