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Airline struck down by double whammy bankruptcy

A regional carrier has gone bust for a second time.

The Creditors’ Protection Association of 1870 (KSV) announced yesterday (Tues) that Graz-based airline Robin Hood Aviation GmbH (Robin Hood) asked a court to start insolvency procedures. It is unclear whether judges will give the green light to regulated bankruptcy proceedings. Their decision will depend on the value of the struggling airline’s assets and its debts. There is no confirmed information considering these facts. However, it is alleged that Robin Hood has debts of 400,000 Euros and funds of only 54,000 Euros. There are currently no scheduled Robin Hood flights.

The aviation company was founded six years ago. It kept operating after going through insolvency procedures in March 2010. Bosses refused to comment on news of another bankruptcy today. Reports have it that the firm cites the European debt and cash crisis and a difficult economic environment for its poor performance in recent months.

Robin Hood flew from Graz Airport (GRZ) to Zurich Airport (ZRH) in Switzerland and Linz Airport (LNZ) in the Austrian province of Upper Austria. The airline does not own the two planes it used to offer the services. A firm close to Robin Hood owned the aircraft and provided them to the company to do business. Online business newspaper Austrian Aviation Net claimed earlier this month that a Graz court would hold a compulsory auction of the Saab 340 aircraft at GRZ in September. Robin Hood officials said the report was wrong. The airline’s website has disappeared from the internet in the meantime. Customers interested in the firm’s services find nothing but a note about the insolvency proceedings.

Robin Hood was established by Georg Pommer who also acted as executive manager of Styrian Airways, a carrier which went bust in 2006 when Pommer was not with the company anymore. Pommer managed an airline called Fairline between 2003 and 2004. He disclosed plans to set up a carrier called Greenline last month. The airline will focus on eco-conscious flying, according to the businessman who remained tight-lipped about an envisaged launch and destinations.

News that Robin Hood declared bankruptcy for a second time within one and a half years comes shortly after a Lufthansa manager ruled out that Austrian Airlines (AUA) would achieve a turnaround this year.

The German carrier, which acquired a majority interest in AUA in September 2009, wanted the firm to be back in the black by the end of 2011. AUA sustained a loss of 63 million Euros between January and June. Lufthansa Group supervisory board chief Stefan Lauer told Austrian business press at Vienna International Airport (VIA or VIE) on Tuesday that AUA would not meet this target. The businessman stressed he was convinced AUA would become profitable in the foreseeable future. Asked whether it was true that Lufthansa had intentions to cut back on its activities at VIA in favour of arrivals and departures at Franz Josef Strauss International Airport (MUC) near Munich, Germany, Lauer said: "I never read anything more absurd."

AUA co-CEOs Andreas Bierwirth and Peter Malanik announced last month they were "working hard" at getting AUA back in the black. "If we don’t achieve a black zero this year, we will manage it next year," the businessmen said. Bierwirth and Malanik said AUA was challenged by less demand for tickets of flights to destinations in North Africa and the Arab region due to the uprising. They added its operations between VIA and Narita International Airport (NRT) in Japan suffered as well due to the tsunami and nuclear disaster the Asian country was hit by in March. Higher kerosene prices and taxes also put the formerly state-owned carrier – which is based in Vienna – under pressure, according to its executive managers. AUA had 2.1 million passengers in the first three months of this year, around as many as in the same period of 2010.

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business  Bierwirth  Euros  Airport  Austrian  International  September  airline  Lufthansa  Robin  Pommer  Lauer  debts  carrier  bankruptcy  Graz  Aviation  Hood  rsquo  insolvency

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