Sudden Demise of French Charter Firm Prompts Probe

 - November 16, 2010, 11:17 AM

The financial records at French air charter operator Blue Line are being scrutinized following the company’s compulsory liquidation on October 6 with debts of €37 million ($52 million). The suddenness of the 200-employee company’s demise prompted the judge in charge of the liquidation to tap a certified public accountant to investigate Blue Line’s financial affairs. A preliminary report is to be released by year-end. Depending on the accountant’s findings, civil or legal action could follow, the official liquidator told AIN. The entire workforce is being laid off and all eight aircraft on Blue Line’s air operating certificate–three MD-83s, two Airbus A310s and three Fokker 100s–have been returned to their owners. Last year, Blue Line’s revenues fell by 17 percent, to €54 million ($76 million), and losses were more than €7 million ($10 million). Founded in 2002, Blue Line had grown rapidly in the fields of executive/corporate flights, charter flights for tour operators and wet-lease arrangements for airlines.