Aigle Azur will stop its operations from the evening of September 6, 2019. The second biggest French airline, which declared bankruptcy earlier this week, is now putting all hope in a buyout offer.
Initially, Aigle Azur only canceled flights to Mali, Brazil, and Portugal on September 4, 2019, while maintaining its routes to Algeria. But as the airline has only enough cash remaining to carry out 44 flights, its operations will come into a full halt starting from September 6, 2019, at night.
“In agreement with the French civil aviation authorities and the bodies of the judicial procedure, Aigle Azur, in great economic difficulty, is unfortunately obliged to cancel all its flights as of Saturday 7 September included,” announced the airline on its website, warning customers that “the financial situation of the company does not allow to hope for a quick compensation”. Between 40,000 and 50,000 people are affected by cancellations.
The priority, for now, is to repatriate “thousands” of stranded passengers.
“There are several thousand people who are stuck today,” said Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, newly-appointed French Secretary of State for Transport on RTL, adding that it mainly concerned passengers in Algeria and Mali. 200 of them were stuck in Algiers International Airport (ALG) throughout the night as they were waiting for a flight to Toulouse–Blagnac (TLS). “We are talking with French airlines, with Air France group, to put in place the most appropriate solutions and to ensure that no passenger who is now outside French territory is left without a solution,” added Djebbari.
As for the buyout, two plans are being studied: either a takeover of the whole activity of a separate sale of the medium-haul and long-haul operations. The Aigle Azur representative of the SNPL pilots’ union spoke out against a split of activities.
On September 4, 2019, Aigle Azur CEO Frantz Yvelin, who had just reclaimed his position, resigned during an interview on BFMTV. “We had a plan that would have saved more than 90% of jobs of the company”, said Yvelin, before stating that “some unions did not want it, Mr. Houa wanted to make his putsch. Eventually, we can not fight against everyone”.
The said plan was described as such: to sell part of Aigle Azur’s operations to IAG Group, to transfer half of the activity in Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (CDG), and to request a productivity effort from all flight crews in exchange for a share in the capital of the company.