Aigle Azur to suspend operations

An Airbus A320 of Aigle Azur. Photo: © Bene Riobó

Aigle Azur will suspend operations on Friday night. All flights from Saturday, September 7th, have been cancelled.

The French airline filed for bankruptcy and entered receivership on Monday, following financial and leadership issues. It continues to seek a bid for acquisition to save the company, AFP reports. At least three companies are reportedly interested in making a takeover offer, mostly because of Aigle Azur’s valuable take off and landing slots at Paris Orly Airport.

After filing for bankruptcy, Aigle Azur initially stated that several routes would be suspended by September 10th, and its long-haul service to Campinas, Brazil, was due to end on September 27th. The airline had assured passengers that flights would continue to operate. On Friday, the airline will serve a total of 44 flights before officially ceasing operations at 11:59pm local time. Its website is no longer available.

As of now, Aigle Azur employs around 1,150 people and was owned by HNA Group (48%), David Neeleman (32%) and Gerard Houa (20%). Its current fleet consists of seven Airbus A320 and two A330-200, along with one A319 and one A320 which are leased to TAP Air Portugal. Houa, a French businessman who only holds a minority share, attempted to take control of the airline in August, which caused the president of Aigle Azur to put the airline under a temporary administrator on August 27th, who decided that filing for bankruptcy was the only available option for the financially struggling carrier.

Aigle Azur was founded in 1946 and started operations with a fleet of Junkers Ju 52. From the beginning on, the airline secured contracts for charter and holiday flights to destinations in northern Africa and the Middle East, services which have (with some breaks in between) lasted through the company’s entire history until today. In the 1970s the airline acted mostly as a regional operator. GoFast Group made investments into Aigle Azur in 2001; the airline was only operating two aircraft at the time. During the following years, the carrier expanded by adding new Airbus A320 aircraft to its fleet. In October 2012, Chinese HNA Group acquired 48% of Aigle Azur. Other shares were held by the Weaving Group. The latter company sold its remaining stake to investor and airline founder David Neeleman in 2017.

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