CEO Of Aigle Azur Resigns After Airline Enters Receivership

The CEO of Aigle Azur, Frantz Yvelin, has resigned from his post at the airline, after his position effectively became untenable. The French carrier recently entered receivership, and Yvelin has been facing considerable opposition from shareholders in recent weeks.

Aigle Azur
Aigle Azur’s CEO has stood down amid pressure. Photo: Aigle Azur

CEO resigns

Despite the former CEO having apparently faced down an attempt by shareholders to depose him, Yvelin has ultimately decided to resign from his position. In standing down from the head role at Aigle Azur, Yvelin told BFM TV that he has “done absolutely everything [possible] for the past two years.”

Yvelin had been planning to sell a portion of the airline and its activities to Vueling – a unit belonging to International Airlines Group (IAG), who have shares in a number of prominent airlines, including British Airways.

And in his final statement as Aigle Azur CEO, Yvelin stated that he felt his actions had been in the best interest of the airline’s workers and that he had simply tired of fighting the vast opposition he had faced. Yvelin claimed that his proposed plan for the carrier would have saved over 90% of jobs at Aigle Azur, but that “certain unions didn’t want it”.

Aigle Azur
The French carrier recently entered receivership. Photo: Aigle Azur

Concluding that it was impossible for him to go on fighting the assembled opposition to his plans, Yvelin resigned from his position, citing union opposition, and the desire of Gérard Houa to launch a coup against Yvelin. Houa had bemoaned what he saw as a litany of strategic mistakes that have been made by Yvelin and Aigle Azur over the last couple of years.

Long-haul focus

Yvelin’s leadership had seen Aigle Azur focus on long-haul flights. But the CEO had suffered in recent years, after HNA Group, which owns 48% of the French carrier, withdrew its support. Fuel price increases caused further damage to the financial position of the airline, and with vultures circling, it seems that Yvelin felt his position was no longer tenable.

Despite standing down, Yvelin divulged the fact that it had been an incredibly difficult decision, and certainly not one that he had taken lightly. Aigle Azur is the third airline that Yvelin has run, after L’Avion and La Compagnie.

Around 1,150 jobs are at risk at Aigle Azur, due to the financial malaise of the company, although Yvelin claimed that his plan would have saved in the region of 1,000.

Aigle Azur
Yvelin felt his position was no longer tenable Photo: Aigle Azur

Aigle Azur was founded in 1946 and has operated flights from France to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South America recently. The carrier fulfills its portfolio of flights with a fleet entirely comprised of Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft.

Filing for bankruptcy

As Simple Flying reported just days ago, Aigle Azur had entered receivership and filed for bankruptcy due to its financial difficulties. Before resigning, Yvelin had sought the guidance of a French judicial administrator, which had apparently advised this course of action.

But it was already evident that powerful shareholders were strongly opposed to Yvelin’s continuing role as CEO, and this has ultimately led to his demise.