Globespan's cash crunch - continued
Here's a big number that may explain help why Globespan was grounded last night: £34m.
I'm told that's the amount of ticket transaction cash that was being withheld from the travel company and its flyGlobespan airline by the company processing its online sales.
It's made up of two elements: around £20m for flight tickets that have already been used, and a further £14m or more for flights that were yet to take off.
Here's an explanation. When you pay by credit card, that transaction should insure your ticket against collapse of the airline.
After XL and Zoom went down last year, the insurance industry made it much more expensive for credit card companies to cover that insurance cost.
One solution is for the companies to hold on to the cash until the flights have taken place. Once they've landed, obviously, there won't be a claim on that flight's tickets.
This doesn't operate for all airlines, but since last year, delays in payment became more common as a means of insuring tickets.
So that might explain why E-Clear, the company which we're told was handling flyGlobespan's online transactions, was hanging on to £14m of cash for tickets that had yet to be used.
It doesn't explain why it was withholding as much as £20m for tickets that had been used - transactions which no longer carried any risk.
That's one of the questions we may get answered by the administrators, who are soon to start a press conference in Edinburgh explaining what's been going on.
What does E-Clear have to say about this? Still nothing.
In other developments, the European Low Fare Airline Association has called for the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, to do more to control the trading of companies that are known to be in financial difficulties.
The reckoning is that if there are rumbles in the industry, spilling into the media, then it's a bit odd for the regulator not to be doing something about it, perhaps requiring special reporting measures and restrictions on ticket sales.
And the problem has spilled over to, of all places, the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Globespan had a special contract to shuttle pilgrims between Delhi in India and Saudi Arabia.
So Indian Muslims, who may have blown a lot of their savings on the pilgrimage, may be caught in the desert kingdom. We're told some of the airline's female crew are, and they face tight restrictions in Saudi on where they're allowed to go.
Update 1730 Thursday
Bruce Cartwright at PricewaterhouseCoopers said at the media briefing that the amount owed to Globespan was around £30m. Although the company also needed an injection of fresh capital, he made clear that cash flow was a vital component in the collapse.
And as that outstanding money is clawed back, the joint administrator held out some hope that flight ticket-holders may be able to get repaid around half of what they paid out.
Half is not as good as all of it, of course, and the evidence from past financial crashes for airlines is that it takes a long time to get money to those who are owed it.
In the case of XL, which collapsed in September last year, it has paid out nearly £41m to those owed money, but 8% of claims have not been paid or closed, often while administrators await the original booking documents, including ATOL receipts, which were issued by travel agents.
Meanwhile, 550 people have been told they're redundant today, staff are being brought home, with 60 returning from Delhi, while 100 staff are helping with the wind-down.
A handful of baggage handlers at Glasgow Airport continue to carry the Alba subsidiary's contract to handle FlyBe baggage.
It seems the figure of 800 Globespan employees, given out by PwC last night, was slightly over the top.