Coup at Aigle Azur: the CEO strikes back

JBCarvalho Photography

After being evicted at the beginning of the week to be replaced by a duo composed of a shareholder and one of the co-founders, Aigle Azur CEO Frantz Yvelin was eventually able to take back his position, but not alone this time.

“With the help of the court, to which the matter was referred, Aigle Azur has ended this morning [August 28, 2019] an illegal and surreal situation, having seen two individuals claim to have the right to take control 80% of its shareholders,” the company announced, adding “at the immediate request of Frantz Yvelin, President of Aigle Azur, the President of the Commercial Court has appointed an interim director for the company”. The court has appointed Hélène Bourbouloux as an interim administrator.

In mid-August 2019, Yvelin announced a probable sale of Aigle Azur activities in Portugal to low-cost Vueling. The airline has indeed been lacking investment lately as some of its shareholders (namely the Chinese group HNA and Brazilian businessman David Neeleman) have had difficulties of their own. The decision, among others, had led Gérard Houa (19% shareholder in Aigle Azur) and Philippe Bohn (co-founder of Aigle Azur and former general manager of Air Senegal) to evict Yvelin in a move that resembled a coup. The two men respectively proclaimed themselves chairman and general manager, denouncing the “strategic mistakes of the last two years”.

Aigle Azur, the second biggest French airline after Air France, has been recording losses for over seven years and failed its attempt to enter the long-haul market. Its route from Paris Orly Airport (ORY) in France, where it is based, to Sao Paulo-Campinas International Airport (VCP) in Brazil, opened on July 5, 2018, will end on September 10, 2019.


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