Coup at Aigle Azur: court sentences rebellious executives
A French court condemned the two executives responsible for an attempted coup at Aigle Azur to pay moral compensation to the then-CEO.
In August 2019, a bizarre episode saw Aigle Azur CEO Frantz Yvelin evicted to be replaced by a duo composed of a shareholder and one of the co-founders. Gérard Houa (19% shareholder in Aigle Azur) and Philippe Bohn (co-founder of Aigle Azur and former general manager of Air Senegal) respectively proclaimed themselves chairman and general manager, denouncing the “strategic mistakes” of the previous two years. The two executives called into question the decision to sell Aigle Azur activities in Portugal to the low-cost carrier Vueling.
With the help of the Commercial Court, Yvelin eventually took back control over the company, supported by an interim director appointed by the judge.
Yvelin decided to bring the matter in front of the Court of Paris, claiming the attempted coup was made "in an unfair, brutal and vexatious manner" with attacks "to his honor and his reputation.”
On May 13, 2021, the court ruled in his favor, recognizing “serious acts.” Houa was ordered to compensate for moral damage and pay him €15,000, while Bohn ‒ €5,000.
In great economic difficulty, Aigle Azur had filed for bankruptcy and suspended operations on September 7, 2019. Several offers were made to take over the airline, but none were deemed satisfactory by the court. On September 27, 2019, Aigle Azur ceased all activities.
Before its demise, Aigle Azur was the second biggest French airline. The air carrier specialized in flights between France and the Maghreb, employed around 1,150 people, and operated 11 Airbus aircraft (nine A320s and two leased A330s).
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