Thousands of passengers of Aigle Azur are still struggling to find a way home after their planes were grounded due to bankruptcy. The French airline ceased all operations and cancelled all flights. It’s in such a financial crisis that it can neither compensate its customers financially nor ensure the repatriation of travelers whose return flight has been canceled.
Initially, the carrier only canceled flights to Mali, Brazil, and Portugal on September 4, 2019, while it maintained its routes to Algeria. But as the airline had only enough cash remaining to carry out 44 flights, its operations came into a full halt starting from September 6, night. In great economic difficulty, the French airline was obliged to cancel all its flights as of Saturday 7 after an agreement with the French civil aviation authorities. It also warned customers that the financial situation of the company does not allow for a quick compensation. Between 40,000 and 50,000 people were affected by the flight cancellations.
Azur filed for bankruptcy
After succumbing to losses, Azur filed for bankruptcy on September 2, 2019. The Commercial Court of Creteil had set the deadline for the submission of bids to September 8, 2019. Nearly fourteen offers to take over Aigle Azur were submitted before the deadline. As expected, one of the stronger bids was from the national carrier, Air France. As a potential buyer, the French airline had expressed interest in the bankrupt airline and was ready to make a takeover bid. Perhaps, it could use the slots to develop the network of its low-cost subsidiary ‘Hop’, also based in Orly. Another carrier, IAG has competed, a couple of weeks ago. Probably, the group would be able to settle its own low-cost carrier, Vueling, in Orly, challenging Transavia in its own backyard. Following the band wagon, some more carriers such as Air Caraïbes or Easy Jet were seen in the running to buy the airline and grab the 10,000 time slots.
Aigle Azur ceases operations, passengers stranded
As the airline cancelled all flights finally, the situation for stranded passengers remained difficult for several days. Of the 13,000 travelers still stranded, about 11,000 passengers were booked on flights to and from Algeria, 600 to and from Mali, and the rest to and from Russia, Portugal, Lebanon. Apparently, a few dozen people were booked to and from Brazil, Ukraine and Senegal. However, Air France has already chartered four flights, two per day, on September 7 and 8, 2019, and will continue to regularly do so. The crisis will be over before the end of the week and that at least half of the affected passengers will be repatriated.