Blink Stops Flying, Relinquishes UK AOC

 - July 2, 2018, 12:04 PM
Wijet placed an order for 16 HA-420 HondaJets earlier this year, and the company plans to continue operating with new EU charter partners. (Photo: Wijet)

Luxembourg-based Wijet Holding said yesterday that “it is giving up its British airline operator certificate [AOC], previously obtained through the October 2016 acquisition of Blink UK.” Wijet operates a fleet of Citation Mustangs and in February announced an order for 16 HA-420 HondaJets.

According to a press release issued yesterday, Wijet's Blink division has stopped flying in the UK, but Wijet plans to transfer ground and air operations to “partner operators” in continental Europe and secure its own AOC in a European country. Wijet will keep three to five Mustangs then add the HondaJets when deliveries begin. The Mustangs are more suited to shorter runways, according to the company.

“The company [Blink] was found to never have been profitable,” the release said, “with an aging fleet of aircraft and a cost structure not fit to on-demand air charter. Integration issues also triggered inefficiencies that could not be solved for.” Wijet also blamed issues surrounding Brexit. “The doubts around the deadline of March 2019 from the EASA accelerated the decision to look for a solution to continue operating flights within the European Union. Intra-UK flights accounted for less than 10 percent of the group’s sales.”

The Wijet fleet included 15 Mustangs. Last year, Wijet projected growth to 50 aircraft by 2020, to be funded by a new round of financing projected at €15 million ($16.5 million). At the time, the company expected that Brexit would not pose insurmountable problems, predicting that UK AOC holders would be allowed to operate intra-EU flights after the UK exits the EU. If that weren’t possible, then Wijet anticipated establishing a new AOC in an EU country.