Shareholders Unhappy With Aigle Azur’s New Leadership

Aigle Azur now has new leadership despite the disapproval of its shareholders. The Paris Orly based airline is now headed by Gérard Houa, a shareholder of Lu Azur.
An Aigle Azur Airbus A320
Aigle Azur’s leadership is in question by its shareholders. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons
CH-Aviation reports that the airline’s new president is also the lead of Foundation France Chine. This institution serves as a platform for dialogue between French and Chinese leaders. They are a representative in France for the Chinese powerhouse, HNA Group. which owns 49% of Aigle Azur.

High stakes

19% of the company is also owned by Lu Azur, which is Houa’s own company. The remaining majority of shares are owned by David Neeleman, a US based businessman.
ATW online report that the entrepreneur did not give the approval of this move and has threatened legal action. The firing of the former CEO came after long-haul expansion plans that have run into difficulties in recent months.
A statement signed by the two leaders summarised the new move, criticising shareholders on their stance of the company.
“Gérard Houa now holds the presidency of Aigle Azur and Philippe Bohn the position of general manager,” their statement read.
“The strategic mistakes of the past two years must stop,” they continued. “The shareholders have long been kept in ignorance”. 
Under their previous leadership, the airline has made significance losses. This has ultimately lead to the overhaul at the helm.
“Between November 2017 and June 2019, Aigle Azur lost more than EUR50 million.” The document summarised.
Aigle Azur Airbus A330
The French airline made a huge loss last year according to the company’s statement. Photo: Rafalflash via Wikimedia Commons

Hostile environment

Neeleman responded to this takeover by saying he did not give the go ahead to replace the previous leader. He went on to claim that HNA also disapproved of Houa’s actions.
Aigle Azur hope to sort out their recent troubles following their 73-year journey. Earlier this year, it was reported that the French firm had reached an agreement with Vueling Airlines.
The deal would mean that Aigle Azur would sell its business between Paris Orly and three airports in Portugal for a mere EUR20 million. However, Bohn now states they will rule out any move that would dismantle the company.
The proposed sale would mean that these routes would be part of IAG  This extended network formed following a merger between British Airways and Iberia in January of 2011.
Since then, the supergroup has incorporated Level, Aer Lingus and Vueling into their services. Also, as of June, they also have with 573 aircraft flying to 268 destinations around the world. A carefully planned partnership under the AIG umbrella could be the deal that the struggling airline needs.

Falling behind

While Aigle Azur comes to terms with their struggles, their competitor, Air France have had a successful period. This week, the first A350 destined for Air France had taken its maiden flight in Toulouse.
Air France Airbus A380
Aigle Azur’s French competitor, Air France has seen progress in recent months. Photo: Laurent ERRERA via Wikimedia Commons
This news followed the reveal of the airline’s first Airbus A350, which is scheduled delivery September. It will include an extensive cabin fit-out that features new Business Class Zodiac Optima seats.
On the other hand, reports from the Aigle Azur camp aren’t as progressive. All shareholders involved will be looking to wrap up their difficulties for a more positive 2020.
Simple Flying reached out to Aigle Azur for comment on the news but had not heard back prior to publication. We will update with any further announcements.