Aigle Azur, France’s second largest airline, closes down

Aigle Azur ©AirTeamImages

Having ceased all commercial operations and filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month, leaving 19,000 travelers stranded, Aigle Azur, France’s second-largest carrier, has now closed down.

Having immediately been put up for sale, those carriers who expressed interest in Aigle Azur included easyJet and Vueling, while confirmed bids to take over assets were received from Air France, Groupe Dubreuil (owners of Air Caraïbes and French Bee) and Lu Azur. While a joint bid between Air France and Groupe Dubreuil looked the most promising, legal problems relating to the conditions on which personnel would be transferred to a new owner were proving problematic. Ultimately, French courts decided that none of the rescue offers were acceptable and the bankrupt carrier closed down at midnight on Friday, September 27.

This also put an end to the French government’s attempts to sell off parts of the carrier in order to save approximately 1,150 jobs. Based out of Paris Orly Airport, Aigle Azur’s 9,800 take-off and landing slots would have been highly prized, but these could not have been sold directly and only acquired through taking over the company. Aigle Azur flew 1.9 million passengers last year to 21 destinations, predominantly between France and Algeria, but also Brazil, Russia and China. The closing down follows hot on the heels of another French carrier, XL Airways, which was forced to suspend all ticket sales last week.

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