Aigle Azur is suspending all flights effective September 7th, 2019. This news follows a slightly earlier announcement from the bankrupt airline that they would progressively suspend flights. In a statement on the Aigle Azur website, the airline says this decision was made in conjunction with French authorities.
In a statement, Aigle Azur says its financial situation and subsequent operational difficulties have forced its hand.
A sad end for an airline with a long history
It’s a sad end for an airline that can trace its origins back to 1946. Aigle Azur has faced challenges before, notably in the early 2000s, but it benefitted from a new owner, a fresh injection of capital and an updated fleet. Aigle Azur seemed to find its feet again, becoming France’s second-largest airline.
Over the last few years, it has brought new aircraft into its fleet and expanded its operations, flying mostly around Europe, but also into Russia, Lebanon, Senegal, and Algeria.
But the airline has been losing money since 2012. Just last week, a minority shareholder attempted to take over the airline, an action described as a coup de force. Lu Azur owner, Gérard Houa, named himself Aigle Azur President.
Mr. Huoa has since been removed and allegations are swirling concerning the use of falsified documents during the takeover attempt.
Events have moved fast this last week
A shareholder’s meeting was held on Monday, September 2nd, 2019. Following that meeting, the airline was placed into receivership. The plan was to continue to fly in the short term, assess and observe, and make some decisions further down the line.
But things went quickly awry. The CEO of Aigle Azur, Frantz Yvelin, resigned yesterday after his situation became “untenable”. The airline also announced yesterday that it would start progressively suspending flights. A report in Aviation Week Network said Portugal, Mali, and Brazil would be the first flights to go.
Shortly afterward the decision was made to cancel all flights effective September 7th, 2019.
Air France and IAG touted as possible buyers
Aerotime is reporting that Aigle Azur is looking for potential buyers. The deadline for the first bids is September 8th, 2019. Both Air France and IAG are being touted as potential buyers. Martin Surzur, Agile Azur pilot’s union representative told Le Monde that,
“Air France has expressed interest in Aigle Azur and would be ready to make a takeover bid.”
One of Aigle Azur’s key assets are the 10,000 slots it has at its Orly base. The theory is Air France could use those slots to beef up the network of its Orly based low-cost carrier, Transavia.
Martin Surzur states that Air France rival IAG made an unsuccessful offer to buy those Orly slots several weeks ago. He reckons they might come knocking again and could base Vueling at Orly.
What do the cancellations mean for stranded passengers?
For passengers immediately affected by Aigle Azur’s decision to cancel flights, these corporate machinations don’t make their life any easier. On its website, Aigle Azur apologizes and says passengers left stranded will have to buy another ticket with another airline.
Passengers who bought their tickets online with a credit card can request a chargeback from their credit card company. Passengers who purchased their tickets from a travel agent should contact the travel agent directly.
If passengers holding worthless tickets do not have recourse to the above options, Aigle Azur says you’ll need to buy a new ticket anyway, but should then contact the receiver’s legal representative at www.agileazur.online
Aigle Azur’s website notes that the financial situation of the company “does not allow hope for a quick compensation.”
Have you been impacted by Aigle Azur’s shutdown? Let us know and post a comment.