Monday, June 16, 2008

Lawrence Hunt pulls the plug on Silverjet's rescue hopes

Silverjet's rescue hopes tarnished Monday June 16, 2008 Silverjet's recent roller coaster ride, which appeared to end happily for the all-business-class carrier earlier last week with an acquisition and relaunch agreement with a Swiss investment firm, took a plunge for the worse Friday as the deal suddenly collapsed. Kingplace, an Irish company managed by Geneva's Heritage Cie, had agreed last Tuesday to "principal terms" to own and operate Silverjet, which shut down at the end of May following the failure of another investment arrangement. However, according to Silverjet administrator Begbies Traynor, "unusually complex negotiations with third parties" meant that Kingplace "is no longer in a position to acquire Silverjet as a going concern. As a consequence, we have today had to make the entire workforce formally redundant in line with our legal obligations as administrator." The number of job cuts numbered between 300 and 400, according to various press reports. It appears to be the end of the line for the carrier, which had been confident of a relaunch. "We continue to negotiate the sale of Silverjet's assets for the benefit of the company's creditors," BT said. Silverjet did not release a statement. The Times reported that the UK CAA was not satisfied that Kingplace could demonstrate its ability to provide more than £25 million ($48.8 million) in funding over the next six months. Silverjet follows Eos Airlines and MAXjet Airways into the history books. Paris Orly-based L'Avion, which operates all-business-class 757-200 flights to Newark, continues to operate.