End of the Line for VLM

VLM Airlines has suspended operations after filing for bankruptcy.  Announcing the grounding, a statement on the carrier’s website said: “We are sorry to have to inform you that VLM Airlines NV filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday June 22, 2016.  All flights are cancelled with immediate effect.”

The troubled, Antwerp-based carrier’s CEO, Hamish Davidson, revealed the company had requested six months’ protection from creditors to restructure its business.  Planned changes include the consolidation of its network and the sale and lease-back of its fleet of Fokker 50s (see Airliner World, July 2016).  But VLM later admitted six months would not be sufficient to raise additional capital.

Davidson said the problems had been exacerbated by a raft of passenger cancellations during the two-week period between applying for protection and
its acceptance.

The airline’s financial difficulties were attributed by the CEO to KBC Bank’s decision to freeze the company’s accounts in early May – VLM reportedly owes €3m to the bank, plus a further €3m to other suppliers including Antwerp Airport, and posted a loss of €13m for last year, leading it to cancel an order for two Sukhoi Superjet 100s.

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