Friday 23 February 2018

Hopes Aer Arann will be lifted out of examinership

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Aer Arann could exit examinership tomorrow following a court hearing that will hear how the carrier's negotiations with creditors have progressed over the past week.

It is believed that some final wrangling regarding financial aspects of the airline's reorganisation remain to be finalised prior to tomorrow's hearing.

A rescue package for the airline was put together by chairman Padraig O Ceidigh, while UK logistics group Stobart has agreed to spend €2.5m to support the launch of Aer Arann flights to Southend Airport. Stobart is also planning to take a very small direct stake in Aer Arann under the deal and will have board representation. However, the agreement is subject to the airline exiting examinership.

Among Aer Arann's creditors are Allied Irish Banks, which is owed €5.2m. That money is expected to become the debt of the new Aer Arann operating company.

A total of almost €30m is owed by Aer Arann, with Galway Airport being owed €2.2m and the Dublin Airport Authority €1.9m.

As part of the planned re-organisation of the business, Mr O Ceidigh will inject fresh equity into Aer Arann and will retain majority ownership of the airline. He'll also take a more active role in the day-to-day operation of the carrier, although existing chief executive Paul Schutz will remain in his position.

Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton was appointed interim examiner of Aer Arann in August after the airline racked up a loss of €18.5m over the last two-and-a-half years.

While it had been on target at the beginning of this year to meet its own financial projections, the volcanic eruption in Iceland in April combined with general market conditions served to make its position increasingly difficult.

Irish Independent

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