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Sobelair on brink of bankruptcy

Published on 11/12/2003

11 December 2003

BRUSSELS – The Brussels commercial tribunal announced Wednesday it would be giving charter company Sobelair eight days in which to produce a restructuring plan or face bankruptcy.

“The commercial tribunal asked us to draw up a clear and balanced plan by 19 December.  They don’t want promises, but commitments in black and white,” the financially troubled airline’s CEO Aldo Vastapane told Le Soir.

The charter company must find EUR 10 million in order to survive the winter without declaring bankruptcy – it will be asking for concessions from suppliers such as its caterers, ground handlers, and DSF, the German company from whom Sobelair has leased two Boeing 767s.

Sobelair personnel will also be playing their part in the company’s survival by taking cuts on their pay cheques to supply the company with approximately EUR 4 million.

Workers unions are complaining however that they suffered a similar pay cut last year, with no visible effects and no overview on the company’s business plan.

Vastapane hopes to secure a loan from either a national bank prepared to support the airline, or from Sabena’s replacement carrier, SN Brussels Airlines.

If the loan is accepted, Vastapane has pledged to invest EUR 4 million of his own money into bringing Sobelair back from the edge.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Belgian news