SkyEurope files for bankruptcy

1st September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Flights of the Bratislava-based budget carrier are suspended with immediate effect after it airline filed for bankruptcy overnight.

Vienna – Shares in low-cost carrier SkyEurope were suspended from trading on the Vienna stock exchange on Tuesday after the troubled airline filed for bankruptcy overnight.

Trading was suspended "until further notice" from the opening bell on Tuesday, the stock exchange said in a short statement.

The Bratislava-based airline, which declared insolvency in June, announced late Monday that its court-appointed trustee had filed for the bankruptcy of SkyEurope Airlines "due to the lack of sufficient interim funding to finance ongoing operations".

All flights were "suspended with immediate effect," the statement said.

That left thousands of SkyEurope passengers stranded across Europe, according to airline spokesman Roland Schranz.

The carrier's hands were tied when it came to negotiating deals with other airlines to fly those passengers back, Schranz told the Austrian news agency APA.

"An airline which has filed for bankruptcy can't negotiate any deals," he said, declining to estimate exactly how many people were affected.

Austrian Airlines, which is itself being taken over by German flag carrier Lufthansa, said it would fly back stranded passengers for EUR 150.

The offer was for destinations that it served as well, namely Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubrovnik, Larnaka, Nice, Paris, Sofia and Split.

"We estimate that hundreds of passengers are affected," said AUA spokeswoman Pia Stradiot.

On Monday, the Ruzyne Prague airport said it would halt all SkyEurope flights from Tuesday after the airline failed to pay its debts.

The Vienna airport halted SkyEurope's flights in mid-August for the same reason.

In July, SkyEurope said it found an investor in the form of the Austrian group FOCUS Equity, which was supposed to invest EUR 16.5 million, conditional on a successful restructuring process.

The company, set up in 2001 by mainly Austrian investors, launched ticket sales for the winter season in July after adding two new Boeing 737-300 aircraft to its fleet.

The carrier announced earlier this year that its business had been badly hit by the global economic slump and that it had had to reduce its fleet to just five planes from the 15 Boeing 737s it operated in late 2008.

SkyEurope, with bases in Bratislava, Vienna, Prague and the eastern Slovak city of Kosice, never posted a profit in the six years of its existence.

AFP / Expatica

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