The involuntary Chapter 7 case against Avantair in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tampa, Fla., is proceeding at a much faster pace than industry sources initially expected. On Thursday, just one week after the case was filed, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Catherine McEwen held an emergency hearing to consider the filing creditors’ request for appointment of an interim bankruptcy trustee, as well as a motion to prevent removal of business records.
Supporting their request for appointment of a trustee, the plaintiffs said Avantair is no longer operating as a “business in the ordinary course,” has no income and is not meeting contractual obligations to customers, among other charges. Judge McEwen granted this motion, appointing Beth Ann Scharrer as the interim trustee and approving the request to secure business records, which includes aircraft maintenance logs. In addition, the judge reduced Avantair’s time to respond to the involuntary bankruptcy filing by 10 days to today (August 6).
On Saturday morning, Scharrer visited Avantair’s Clearwater, Fla. headquarters to secure the premises, only to find many of the 30 doors at the facility unlocked, some cleaned-out offices and evidence that furloughed employees had been in the offices within the preceding 24 hours. Since then, the locks have been changed and the employees’ magnetic airport access cards invalidated.
A follow-on hearing is set for Friday morning in Tampa.