Stansted airline files for bankruptcy

AN AMERICAN premium airline operating out of Stansted Airport has filed for bankruptcy, cancelling all further flights and leaving passengers with an anxious wait for refunds.

Elliot Furniss

AN AMERICAN premium airline operating out of Stansted Airport has filed for bankruptcy, cancelling all further flights and leaving passengers with an anxious wait for refunds.

Eos Airlines, which had flown up to four premium flights between the Essex airport to New York each day, filed for bankruptcy on Saturday, saying it had “insufficient cash” to continue after failing to secure investment.

The airline operated some flights from Stansted yesterday but they were the last and customers who have already purchased tickets will have to seek a refund from their credit card company.

A statement issued on the Eos website said it would immediately implement a “reduction in its workforce” and “eliminate” the positions of most of its employees.

Jack Williams, Eos' CEO, said: “After overcoming today's extremely challenging economic and credit environment to negotiate terms for a round of financing, it is regrettable that we were forced to take this action.

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“Unfortunately, just as we were working toward closing on an investment that would have carried us to corporate profitability in 2009, some issues arose that we could not overcome.”

He said it was “regrettable” that it was unable to close on the financing needed, leaving it with “insufficient cash” to continue operations.

Mr Williams added: “I want to express my appreciation to our dedicated employees and to the many guests who have become like family to us.”

A spokesman for BAA Stansted, which runs the airport, said it was “disappointing news” and referred customers to the Eos website for more information.

Launched two years ago, the airline used Boeing 757 planes with 48 seats that reclined into beds but many flights were reported to be significantly below capacity.

Business seemed good just 18 months ago in September 2006 when the airline doubled its daily service, which offered a standard return ticket at the time costing £2,750.

However the airline is just one of a number of smaller operators in America hit hard by rising fuel prices, economic pressures and falling demand.

Brian Ross, economics adviser for campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion, said the news was a blow to BAA's hopes for developing long haul and business services at Stansted and reducing its dependence upon short-haul leisure flights.

SSE had long been critical of Eos and fellow all-business operator Maxjet, which went out of action in December, for environmental reasons.

The group's research showed that each Eos passenger produced the equivalent of nine tonnes of carbon dioxide on a return trip to New York - more than three times as much as a passenger travelling on a scheduled flight with a conventional airline.

Mr Ross said: “Clearly no-one can be happy about the job losses and unpaid bills which will arise from the demise of these two US airlines but when aviation is already the fastest growing cause of climate change it is unacceptable to have such profligate operations.”

Passengers and suppliers who need more information should visit www.eosclass.com.

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