SkyWork has flown its last flight and is ceasing operations effective immediately. Financial troubles at the airline forced it to declare bankruptcy. SkyWork said that talks with an investor that would have helped the airline recover from its debts have failed. Those negotiations began last October.
SkyWork flew its last flight on August 29. It then voluntarily gave up its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA).
11,000 passengers are reportedly affected.
“SkyWork Airlines has decided to hand in its operating license to FOC. As required by law, the company, given its over-indebtedness, has now informed the relevant bankruptcy judge who will oversee proceedings, ” SkyWork said in a press release. “After failed negotiations with a possible partner, the economic conditions are no longer given to continue the operation.”
SkyWork plans for filing for bankruptcy in court.
SkyWork’s decision to stop flying has major implications for Bern in particular. SkyWork’s services represented about 60% of the flights into and out of Bern, the Swiss capital. Just last week, SkyWork revealed plans to serve a new route from Bern to Geneva.
“[The sudden news of SkyWork’s demise leaves] a bitter taste in the mouth,” said Maurizio Merlo, CEO of Lugano Airport.
Locals interviewed on the issue were downbeat. Many recalled SkyWork’s role in the transportation of the triumphant Young Boys Bern football (soccer) team, which relearned from Zagreb after qualifying for the Champions’ League for the first time.
Urs Holderegger, a spokesperson for FOCA, said that passengers who booked directly with SkyWork may not be able to receive compensation. Those that booked through a travel agency may have better luck. This is because European passenger rights no longer apply in bankruptcy cases.
“An insolvent company no longer exists, therefore there are no compensation obligations,” Holderegger told Swiss state broadcaster SRF.
“In case of insolvency of an airline (and cease of operation), passengers have to submit their claims (e.g. ticket costs) to the administrator/liquidator,” FOCA said on its website. “We recommend that passengers check their insurance cover, and whether they have coverage for cancelled flights in case of insolvency of an airline.”
The summer schedule of Helvetic airways remains unaffected by SkyWork’s decision. Helvetic flies from Bern to holiday destinations across Italy, Spain, France, and Greece.
Featured image by Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via The World of Aviation Blog