Aigle Azur To Be Liquidated After French Court Rejects Final 2 Bids

French airline Aigle Azur will cease to be from midnight, September 27th. The decision to pull the plug on the month-old bankrupt carrier was made despite two giants of aviation hinting at a bid to salvage the carrier.

Aigle Azur jet take-off
Aigle Azur folds after less than a month in the protection of a French bankruptcy court. Photo: Ken Fielding via Wikimedia

Writes Aerotime News Hub, the bankruptcy court dealing with Azur’s liquidation has instructed the subsidiary of GoFast Group to terminate.

The Commercial Court of Evry had already granted interested parties until September 16th to submit offers or come up with a watertight salvage plan. However, the court admitted in today’s statement that after two unsatisfactory rounds of bids, the airline’s fate was sealed.

We are currently unable to contact a representative of Aigle Azur for comment.

Expressions of interest

Air France and the Dubreuil Group (the parent company of French Bee and Air Caraibes) had both shown interest during the first round. The two companies were considering a joint offer to take over Azur. However, both companies subsequently withdrew their offers.

easyJet had expressed an interest in taking over the carrier’s Paris operations. But the LCC withdrew its offer in due course. That left Lu Azur and a private conglomerate, neither of which, for various reasons, impressed the court.

Today the bankruptcy judge announced that “no durable solution has been proposed by the buyers”, and revealed that the second biggest French airline was finished.

Aigle Azur jet on taxiway
Air France and the Dubreuil Group, the parent company of French Bee and Air Caraibes, had shown interest during the first round of bidding. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Azur’s struggles

Aigle Azur went into receivership on September 2nd leaving 1,150 employees jobless and passengers stranded.

Writes Japan Times, Azur had been on a downward spiral for years and in the process had lost millions of euros. Part of the problem had been the carrier’s desire to expand. It hoped its regular Algerian network would grow to include the entire African Maghreb. This put undue pressure on its long-haul capabilities.

However, Azur’s boss denied the company was in meltdown, even in the weeks leading up to the airline’s fall into the hands of the receivers. Frantz Yvelin continued to play down financiers concerns about his airline’s viability. He had even managed to ward off a shareholder-led coup.

We reported at the time that Gérard Houa owner of the airline’s third-biggest shareholder Lu Azur tried to usurp Yvelin.

Passengers stranded

The liquidation at the beginning of September left thousands of passengers stranded across the globe. Reported by CNN at the time, over 13,000 customers of Azur were marooned; the vast majority (11,000) in Algeria. Azur flew to six destinations in the North African country.

According to Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, France’s secretary of state for transport, the repatriation of the passengers would take weeks to complete.

Aigle Azur jet landing
13,000 passengers left stranded when Azur’s bankruptcy was first announced. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia

Assistance forthcoming

According to ATW, Djebbari acknowledged the woes of the 73-year-old airline were beyond the wile of even large company’s such as the Dubreuil Group.

His government had also tried what they could to urge the airline to recovery. To ATW, Djebbari said, “The state canceled several million euros of social and fiscal debt, and everything was put in place to give the takeover offers the best possible chance.”

In a statement issued today (27/09/19) Djebbari said, “Following the final decision of the Evry commercial court, the secretary of state regrets that no financed offer could result in the takeover of the airline.”

The French government has promised to assist the 1,150 workers of Azur who were at the start of September unceremoniously turfed out. That includes 350 workers based at operational centers in Algeria.

Added Djebbari, his department would offer training and steer Azur’s employees towards relevant job opportunities within the industry.