Tag Archives: Airberlin (airberlin.com) – Operated by Belair Airlines

Belair declares bankruptcy, will not fly again

Leased from Airberlin on June 1, 2017

Belair Airlines of Switzerland made this declaration on August 15, 2018:

The board of administration of Belair Airlines AG, headquartered in Glattbrugg (Switzerland) on August 15, 2018 resolved to issue a declaration of insolvency for Belair within the week.

This step was preceded by intense preparations since January 2018, aiming at a new start for the company in the summer of 2018. The plan had been to restart flight operations starting summer 2018 as a provider of wet lease flights (ACMI) for other airlines and of charter flights. Belair Airlines AG was acquired by Düsseldorf-based SBC AG from the insolvency assets of Air Berlin in January 2018.

Essential prerequisites for new start initially well on their way

Among the essential prerequisites for taking up flight operations again – as originally intended – from summer 2018 were a sufficient number of skilled and motivated employees, successful negotiations with potential customers, the interim securing of the operating costs, as well as the re-obtaining of the air operator’s certificate (AOC).

Skilled workforce

Immediately after the announcement of the preparation for a restart of the company in Jan- uary 2018, essential know-how carriers of the workforce who had been laid-off already in 2017 during the ownership of Air Berlin returned to Belair. At one point, Belair had approx. 20 employees with comprehensive knowledge of the processes and procedures necessary for flight operations who advanced the intense preparations for the restart of the company, putting forth an immense effort. In addition, more than 100 employees stood by to ensure flight operations.

Contract with new customer concluded

Furthermore, the management of Belair around CEO Michael Hoevel led successful negotia- tions with one of several potential customers. At the end of April 2018, a corresponding con- tract was concluded with a large customer from the tourism industry on the basis of an LOI (“letter of intent”) signed as early as the beginning of April. This contract stipulated the pay- ment of a first significant partial amount shortly after the conclusion of the contract. How- ever, this payment was never made.

Air operator’s certificate (AOC) not granted yet

To take up flight operations again, it was necessary to re-obtain the air operator’s certificate (AOC) through the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (BAZL – Bundesamt für Zivilluftfahrt). Besides proof of essential skills, suitable processes and in-company structures, proof of suffi- cient funds within the company was an important prerequisite for re-obtaining said air oper- ator’s certificate. Those funds were intended to be ensured in the restart preparation phase by means of contracts with at least one customer as well as the contribution of one or more investors.

Investor discussions finally unsuccessful contrary to expectations

In addition to talks with potential customers, numerous discussions were conducted with in- terested investors. For this purpose, the company including its significantly advanced business model was introduced to several potential investors over the past months. In the process, a potent investor was found and convinced of the advanced business model of Belair and the considerable demand on the market in the course of an intensive review (due diligence) and was planning on making a significant contribution. Unfortunately, said investor has now abandoned discussions at short notice, contrary to previous statements. Consequently, the air operator’s certificate could not be issued.

Declaration of insolvency unavoidable

In view of these developments – following the intensive restart preparation measures taken since the start of the year, the non-payment of aforementioned customer since late April and the surprising cancellation of the prospective investor – this resolution to issue a declaration of insolvency within the week was unavoidable.

The negative repercussions of this development in particular also affect the employees of Belair, who had supported the restart preparations with great commitment and profession- alism. They can now no longer be offered the prospective professional development. The management will provide support for their professional re-orientation within its capacity.

Regarding the development in the past months

Belair was acquired by SBC AG, based in Düsseldorf (Germany), a consulting firm specialising in reorganisation and restructuring, from the insolvency assets of Air Berlin in January 2018. Belair had been part of the Air Berlin Group since 2007. The liquidation of Belair had already been initiated by Air Berlin in the course of 2017. A first attempt by SBC to take over Belair in autumn 2017 initially failed since Air Berlin at the point in time back then was prevented from implementing this transaction for reasons of insolvency law. Subsequent to the takeo- ver, intense work on a restart of Belair had taken place since January 2018. It included further development of the business model as well as numerous intense discussions with customers and investors.

Top Copyright Photo: Airberlin (airberlin.com) – Operated by Belair Airlines Airbus A321-211 WL HB-JOU (msn 6454) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 938930.

Airberlin-Belair aircraft slide show:

Below Copyright Photo: Before Airberlin, Belair Airlines was an independent carrier. Belair Airlines (flybelair.com) Boeing 767-3Q8 ER HB-ISE (msn 27600) ZRH (Paul Denton). Image: 911970.

Belair aircraft slide show:

Belair Airlines (flybelair.com) Boeing 767-3Q8 ER HB-ISE (msn 27600) ZRH (Paul Denton). Image: 911970.

With the Airberlin closure, Belair also closes its doors, will be liquidated

Leased from Airberlin on May 12, 2017, Belair logo

Belair Airlines, as a subsidiary of Airberlin, was operating under the Airberlin brand until March 31, 2017.

Airberlin acquired 49% of the shares of Belair in 2007 and has fully owned Belair since October 2009.

During the 2017 summer season, Belair has been flying for Niki.

With the closure of Airberlin, Belair also has ceased operations as of October 28, 2017.

The airline issued this short statement on their website:

“Airberlin has permanently discontinued its operations. We would like to take the opportunity to thank you and bye-bye”.

Belair’s assets will now be liquidated.

Belair offered this guidance to its customers:

Questions and answers about the current situation at airberlin

  • Will flight operations be continued by airberlin/NIKI?

As far as we are currently aware, flight operations under the IATA airline code AB will no longer be possible during the insolvency proceedings, at the latest from October 28th 2017. NIKI flights are not affected and will be continued.

  • My flight will no longer be operated. Will I get my money back?

For passengers who are affected by a flight cancellation, the following applies: If the booking was made before August 15th 2017, reimbursement is not possible. Passengers affected may file their claim for the insolvency schedule after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. For tickets purchased after August 15th 2017, we will reimburse the purchase price if the flight will no longer be operated. Rebooking to another airline is not permitted

  •    Is NIKI also insolvent?

No, the status published on August 15th 2017 applies. NIKI is not insolvent. It is not currently intended for NIKI to file for insolvency. Flight operations will continue as planned.

  • Do airberlin and NIKI still accept new bookings?

Yes, airberlin and NIKI flights can still be booked through our established booking and distribution channels. All fares are still valid.
Payments for flights operating after November 1st 2017 are secured by a trustee. In case these flights are not operating against expectations, affected passengers will receive a ticket refund. This only applies for bookings from August 15th 2017 onwards.

  • How long in advance can I book flights?

The entire schedule published by airberlin and NIKI can currently still be booked. As far as we are currently aware, flights with the IATA airline code AB will no longer be operated from October 28th 2017.

  • Will I continue to receive topbonus miles for my flights?

topbonus, airberlin’s frequent flyer programme, submitted an application for insolvency on August 25th2017. Nevertheless, the topbonus programme continues to exist. The status benefits for topbonus members remain valid. topbonus mileage credit and the redemption of miles is once again active. The conditions for collecting and redeeming miles as of September 20th 2017 as well as the list of active partners can be found on the topbonus website.

  • Do the airberlin/NIKI products and services remain the same?

Yes, the existing airberlin and NIKI services and products remain the same.

  • Is my voucher still valid and if yes until when?

Vouchers cannot be redeemed anymore. Due to insolvency regulations, the utilization of vouchers had to be terminated. Affected passengers have the opportunity to file the claim arising from the unusable voucher for the insolvency schedule after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. We will advise about the formal proceedings at a later stage separately. Tickets that have already been booked against vouchers remain valid.

  • Can I get a cash payout for my voucher?

No, see above.

  • If my tickets are cancelled, will I be reimbursed the applicable fees and taxes?

No. This is not possible due to insolvency regulations. Affected passengers have the opportunity to file the claim for the insolvency schedule after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. Questions regarding the reimbursement of taxes and fees collected after August 15th 2017 must be submitted via the BSPlink.

  • Can tickets that have already been issued be rebooked?

The tariff conditions, valid at the time of ticket issuance, still apply to rebooking. Any issued ticket may be rebooked on the basis of the applicable tariff conditions, provided these allow changes. Any applicable fees must be paid by the customer.

  • Am I still entitled to claims for damages/to receive compensation, e.g. for delays or flight cancelations?

For departures before the filing for insolvency unfortunately no compensations will currently be paid. This is not possible due to insolvency regulations. Affected passengers have the opportunity to file the claim for the insolvency schedule after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. In this case affected passengers automatically receive an official form with further information.

For departures after the filing for insolvency please refer to our online claim form provided by our Guest Relations Team using the following link: http://www.airberlin.com/complaint. Our Guest Relations Team will handle your request and will contact you directly. We kindly ask for your understanding that due to the current situation the processing time might take longer.

  • I booked a package holiday for 2018 and my flights are with airberlin – will there be any problems?

As far as we are currently aware, flight operations under the IATA airline code AB will no longer be possible during the insolvency proceedings, at the latest from October 28th. Please contact your tour operator if you have any further questions.

  • Will tickets from partner airlines be accepted? Will airberlin tickets for flights operated by partner airlines be valid?

If you would like to verify the status of your ticket, please contact the respective partner airline.

Copyright Photo: Airberlin (airberlin.com) – Operated by Belair Airlines Airbus A321-211 WL HB-JOV (msn 6629) BSL (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 938931.