French-based Aigle Azur has entered receivership and filed for bankruptcy following a recent dispute between the airline’s shareholders.
French daily newspaper Le Figaro explains that Aigle Azur, under the guidance of a French judicial administrator has decided to file for bankruptcy and enter receivership. According to a source that has seen the paperwork cited by Le Figaro, it is the “wisest action” the airline could take.
Aigle Azur flights are continuing as normal
Aigle Azur specializes in flights linking the former French colony of Algeria to France from its hub at Paris Orly Airport (ORY).
Despite entering into receivership, the airline wants to let passengers know that flights are continuing as normal.
Aigle Azur’s bankruptcy filing comes after a very eventful week in which the airline’s third-biggest shareholder tried to stage a coup de force according to Capital.fr. In spite of his company, Lu Azur, only owning 19% of the airline, 61-year-old Gérard Houa installed himself as company president.
Meanwhile, it may have proved a hasty move as the nouveau president was removed from office along with his second in charge Philippe Bohn by a judicial ruling. Houa is now the subject of a complaint by Aigle Azur’s other shareholders who accuse the junior shareholder of using falsified documents to grab power.
Aigle Azur has been losing money since 2012
Following the failed coup, French entrepreneur and former commercial pilot Frantz Yvelin was reinstated as Aigle Azur’s CEO.
Along with Yvelin retaking his rightful place, a temporary judicial administrator was appointed and was installed in the presence of the police.
A shareholder meeting was supposed to take place today (Monday) to assess the situation and see what can be agreed to so that the airline can move forward.
Aigle Azur was founded in 1946 with a few Junkers Ju 52s
Created in 1946 by Sylvain Floirat, Aigle Azur (Blue Eagle) was France’s first private post-war airline operating with a few 32 passenger Junkers Ju 52s.
The company later purchased more modern American DC-3 planes and played a big part in the Algerian War of Independence repatriating French nationals.
Today, the company has a fleet of 11 aircraft that includes one Airbus A319-100 that is on lease to TAP Portugal, eight Airbus A320-200s one of which is also on lease to TAP Portugal and two Airbus A330-200s.
Despite transporting 1.88 million passengers in 2018, the airline’s management claims the company has been losing money since 2012. Worried that they might lose their jobs, unions called for Aigle Azur employee’s to gather outside the airline’s headquarters in Paray-Vieille-Poste, France prior to today’s board meeting.
Principal shareholders of the airline include Chinese real estate and airline conglomerate HNA Group with 49% and Brazilian-American entrepreneur David Neeleman who owns 32% of the stock.
Currently, Aigle Azur operates 300 flights per week from six airports in France and will suspend Paris Orly and Campinas, Viracopos, Brazil from September 27th, 2019 according to World Airline News.