Air Bretagne files for bankruptcy

 - May 23, 2008, 7:42 AM

French regional airline Air Bretagne has gone into financial observation after filing for bankruptcy. The company’s operations are being overseen by a court-appointed administrator until liquidation has been finalized. The administrator must report back by the end of this month.

Air Bretagne, based in Vannes in western France, employs 28 people and owns five King Air 100s and 200s, which link the airport of Saint Brieuc in northern Brittany to Paris, Nantes and the British island of Jersey. Two years ago it leased two 19-seat British Aerospace Jetstream 32s.

The carrier has suspended all its regular line operations and its air taxi activity, which it operated in France, England, Sweden and eastern Europe. Last year, international operations accounted for 50 percent of its total annual revenue of about FFr50 million ($7 million).

When Air Bretagne began to transform from an air taxi company to a scheduled airline two years ago, it enjoyed a 65-percent load factor on its new Saint Brieuc to Paris route, previously flown by Brit Air and Proteus Airlines with larger aircraft. DGAC, France’s civil aviation authority, later suspended Air Bretagne’s air transport certificate following a succession of breakdowns in its aircraft.