Following months of rumors about its financial difficulties, Swiss business aviation group and ACMI provider PrivatAir announced on Wednesday it filed for insolvency 41 years after it was established. Both PrivatAir SA in Switzerland and its subsidiary PrivatAir GmbH in Germany commenced insolvency proceedings.
“Over the past few weeks, a number of events have had a significant impact on the companies’ future business forecast and viability, which forced the companies to file for insolvency,” PrivatAir said in a short statement on its website. It did not give details about what the events entail, but Germany’s civil aviation authority Luftfahrt-Bundesamt revoked PrivatAir Germany’s license at the end of October. The German carrier’s two Boeing BBJs have been stored since.
PrivatAir operated wet-lease services on behalf of several carriers—including Lufthansa, SAS, KLM, TUI Fly Germany, and Eurowings—either on ad-hoc contracts or with longer-term agreements to specific destinations, often oil destinations in Africa or the Middle East, or to help launch new routes. It also operated a Boeing 767-300ER on an ACMI basis for ECAir, the now-defunct national airline of the Republic of the Congo, between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Brazzaville. ECAir was not allowed to operate on its own AOC to the European Union because it was on the bloc’s list of banned airlines.
Most recently, PrivatAir operated a business-class-only shuttle service between Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and Riyadh King Khalid International Airport on behalf of Saudia Airlines and Saudia Private Aviation aboard three A319-100s configured with 48 seats.
PrivatAir said it employs 226 staff in Switzerland, Germany, and Portugal. It also uses the services of 65 crew members via an external contracting entity for its operation in the Jeddah-Riyadh shuttle.
The company in 2012 placed an order with Bombardier for five CSeries CS100s, now Airbus A220-100s, and options for an additional five that it intended to fit with an all-business class configuration.
Its Geneva-based business aviation arm provides aircraft management, sales and sourcing, charter, fuel management, and ground services through PrivatPort, a joint venture FBO with Swissport. PirvatAir was one of the seven founding partners in the business airlines alliance AirClub. AIN could not reach PrivatAir for comment.