Updated: Sep 7, 2019
French carrier Aigle Azur is to file for bankruptcy protection on Monday in a move which will secure the current 1150 jobs at risk. The airline, which under French bankruptcy-protection law would be safe for up to another 1.5 years, saw its Chief Executive ousted following what the board describe as a series of mistakes which pushed the airline into deeper losses.
Aigle Azur is a French airline headquartered at Paris Orly Airport. The carrier, which operates scheduled flights to destinations around the world with a fleet of Airbus A320 and Airbus A330 aircraft, was the first ever post-war private airline company when it begun in 1946.
The recent announcement to file for bankruptcy does not come as a massive surprise, as the airline has been in difficulty for quite some time. In 2001, despite having been in operation for over 50 years, Aigle Azur only had a fleet of 2 Boeing 737-200 aircraft. However, as some of its Algerian rivals ceased operations, namely Air Lib and Khalifa Airways, things began to improve. With its new ownership, after just 9 years, the carrier had a fleet of 5 Airbus A319s and an Airbus A320.
As of yet, Aigle Azur is looking for a new buyer, without which, the first ever post-war private airline company could be lost. The deadline for acquisition offers is expected for September 15, until which the carrier will continue operations.
The struggling HNA Group, which owns Hainan Airlines among others, is Aigle Azur’s major shareholder, owning 49% of the company. As a result of the HNA Group’s financial issues, funding cannot be secured. The second largest French airline (Aigle Azur) is in a lot of debt, and the need for financial backing through a new stakeholder has never been greater. It is said that there are a number of potential bidders who have already expressed interest in investing.
What’s to come for Aigle Azur is unknown. What is certain, however, is that the French airline is deep in troubled waters.
Update 07/09/19, 10:13 GMT: The airline has ceased all operations as of September 6, 23:59. The airline is now looking to secure a buyer by September 9, without which this is the end of the line for Aigle Azur.