Air Littoral heads into liquidation

17th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

MONTPELLIER, France, Feb 16 (AFP) - The French regional airline Air Littoral said Monday that its court-appointed administrator has decided to pull out, raising the likelihood of its liquidation.

MONTPELLIER, France, Feb 16 (AFP) - The French regional airline Air Littoral said Monday that its court-appointed administrator has decided to pull out, raising the likelihood of its liquidation.

"Tonight, Air Littoral is turning an important page. Prospects (for survival) are considerably darker," director general Jean Durand told reporters at the carrier's headquarters in this southern French city.

"We have one more night, we will give it our all even though the chances are extremely slim."

A commercial court is to decide Tuesday on the carrier's fate, with liquidation a strong possibility.

On Saturday, the finance group Alain Dumenil, appointed administrator on February 5 by a Montpellier court, was given two days to prove Air Littoral had the financial resources to continue operating.

Air Littoral was placed in receivership last August at the company's request after it was unable to make payments on EUR 60 million (USD 77 million) owed to the state.

On Friday, the transport ministry said that Filature du Favreuil, a subsidiary of Alain Dumenil, had been unable to provide the receipts and funds necessary for the granting of a new license to the airline, and grounded it.

Durand had expressed outrage over the ministry's "incomprehensible" grounding order, "as we were on the verge of finding a solution."

He said the grounding resulted in unacceptable costs to the airline in both lost revenue and the cost of resuming operations.

In 2002, Air Littoral, the biggest French regional airline, carried 1.6 million passengers and generated sales of EUR 250 million, but chalked up a loss of EUR 40 million.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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