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Sabena Bankrupt

Old 5th Nov 2001, 20:02
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itchypuss
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Post Sabena Bankrupt

News reports just coming out indicate Sabena will declare bankrupcy on Tuesday. I wonder if they will receive another handout
 
Old 5th Nov 2001, 20:36
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BBC report no flights on Wednesday but gave no further details.
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Old 5th Nov 2001, 20:39
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Bad News indeed:

http://euobserver.com/index.phtml?se...rticle_id=4015

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Old 5th Nov 2001, 21:07
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BBC Mon 1700

Belgium's indebted national airline, Sabena, is expected to suspend operations on Wednesday, both government and company sources told Reuters.
"There will be no Sabena flights on Wednesday," a member of staff said, though he did not know how long the suspension would last.

An official Sabena spokesman declined to comment and said the airline had nothing to say to passengers holding tickets.

No new investor has been found for the airline, so the its holding company may be put into liquidation this week, chief executive Christoph Mueller said in a memo late last week, according to trade union sources.

The airline itself was last month granted bankruptcy protection for two months by a court in Belgium.
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Old 5th Nov 2001, 21:33
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Well that's it, second major after Ansett
Swissair , TAP, Olympic, Iberia, Air Canada, United maybe later

BBCNEWS

Sabena 'to suspend operations'


Sources say the planes will not fly on Wednesday

Belgium's indebted national airline, Sabena, is expected to suspend operations on Wednesday, both government and company sources told Reuters.
"There will be no Sabena flights on Wednesday," a member of staff said, though he did not know how long the suspension would last.

An official Sabena spokesman declined to comment and said the airline had nothing to say to passengers holding tickets.

About 12,000 jobs may be lost if Sabena collapses.

Bankruptcy looms

No new investor has been found for the airline, so the its holding company may be put into liquidation this week, chief executive Christoph Mueller said in a memo late last week, according to trade union sources.

"Management confirmed to us that Sabena is inescapably headed for bankruptcy," said the Belgian Cockpit Association's Joel Gans.

The airline was last month granted bankruptcy protection for two months by a court in Belgium.

It has about half that period left to run.

Sabena's management said the search for a recovery plan continues.

"We've been working night and day, but we still don't have a plan," said spokesman Olivier Gillis.

Swissair

Sabena's debts total about 2bn euros (£1.2bn; $1.8bn).

Its talks with investors, aimed to attract 372m euros in fresh cash, started after its part-owner, Swissair, reneged on a promised 136m-euro injection into the Belgian airline.

The reconstruction of the Swiss company, which is rolling its viable operations into its regional subsidiary Crossair, is expected to be partly funded by the government.
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Old 5th Nov 2001, 21:59
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Sabena was around for seventy eight years and managed to make a profit twice in that time - and one of those occasions was thanks to some smoke-and-mirrors book-keeping on the part of SAir Group when they sold off the family silver.

Perhaps if the Belgian government had done the same thing that Maggie did back in the 80s with BA and cut it off from the public apron-strings, it might have been a different story. There's no place for state ownership of airlines in Europe today. If they can't float (or fly) they must be allowed to sink.

Protectionism at the cost of successful private operators is inexcusable.

Here's Muller's memo to SN's staff:

MESSAGE FROM CHRISTOPH MUELLER - 31.10.01


Dear colleagues,

This memo aims at keeping you informed of the development of the “Concordat” situation of our company. I know you are asking yourselves many questions and the rumors in the press are not making things easy on anybody.

No decision whatsoever has been made yet, but we are progressing in our thinking and and I would like to share this with you.

Unfortunately, and as you will understand, I have to convey to you a mixture of bad and good news.

Some bad news to face

Despite the numerous efforts made at all levels, including at government level, it appears more and more likely that investors will NOT be found to take over and invest in the whole Sabena SA activity.

Our financial track record is quite dramatic. Our debt amounts today to more than 90 billion BEF and our cost structure is quite high.

Since the events of 11 September, nobody is ready or willing to invest such huge amounts of money in an airline without even being sure it can be profitable. In the case of Sabena, it would take much too long for investors to get a return on their investment (if ever … ).

All is however not lost …
If no investor can be found for Sabena as a whole, some have however showed a lot of interest in some of our activities.

Although nothing has been confirmed yet, there is a high likelihood that an airline activity (and jobs !) can be maintained. It would be much more reduced than today. It would be based on a regional activity (DAT operations) to which some medium and long haul operations would be added.

BUT to make this happen, new capital has to be found. We are today in talks with some financial investors who could be interested in injecting money into the new activity. They would be ready to do that on 2 conditions: (1) if they don’t have to take the Sabena debt over and (2) if the new company to be created proves that it can be profitable in a very short timeframe. This obviously requires to build a very low cost operation, which, in other words, means changing most of the ways we work … and seriously increasing productivity.

The maintaining of an airline activity will also be key to maintaining some other activities (and jobs !) alive (Catering, Ground Handling, Cargo, Technics, … . Talks are also underway with investors. For most of those activities, the conditions put by potential investors are twofold: (1) they will not move before they are certain an airline activity can be maintained and (2) they will want to operate on a low cost basis in order to be profitable and offer competitive prices to their customers. The conditions and the number of jobs involved will have to be discussed in detail when/if things get clearer on the airline front.

A social plan for all who will lose their jobs

A first estimate of the situation allows us to say today that, if everything goes as expected, about 6000 jobs could be secured.

The bad news is of course that several thousands other jobs will not be maintained. Which ones ? It is impossible to tell today. And yes, we are facing a very serious situation on the social front.

This is where the social plan interferes.

All people who will be without a job at the end of the process will be able to benefit from a social plan that will be put together by the Government. The modalities of it are not known yet and they will need to be negotiated with the Unions. The Government is also planning to put a major outplacement program in place. All efforts will be made to offer redeployment and retraining opportunities to employees.

***

As you can see, things are not all clear yet and no final decisions have been made. We are still pursuing all possible efforts to build a future for the largest number of people. I’m sorry we cannot answer all your questions at this stage. I know the current uncertainty is creating a lot of stress for everybody. Please be assured that everything is put in place to try and find solutions as soon as possible.

In theory, we should know more in about 10 days, even if no specific date has been set.

Thank you to all !

Christoph Müller
[ 05 November 2001: Message edited by: The Guvnor ]
 
Old 5th Nov 2001, 22:56
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EICAS

Therein lies the difference between thee and me.

I grieve for anyone losing their job, whereas you only worry about yourself and your oppos.

Having said that, perhaps the 135 on EDI - BRU is in need of a change to something larger
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Old 5th Nov 2001, 23:49
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I guess we need to see and wait really on how this is going to end. The european network however, will continue...
EICAS, get a life and think about the catastrophical situation this shut-down will create for everyone who already received his/her redundancy letter.
It simply floods the market with a 4-digit figure of pilots and cabin crew...not to think about all the engineers and others involved.
Mery Xmas to all involved and the best luck.
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Old 6th Nov 2001, 14:10
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News in now is that all flights are suspended on Wednesday. Hopefully a new carrier based around DAT will now emerge which can make a profit and keep people employed
 
Old 6th Nov 2001, 14:31
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Sobelair are moving their fleet to Liege today as they expect riots tomorrow by SN personnel at BRU.

Sounds like BRU will be a good place to avoid tomorrow!
 
Old 6th Nov 2001, 22:55
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Best of luck to all Sabena personnel - a very difficult situation...

Questions:

1. Is Sobelair still operating - are the crews still employed?

2. What is the status of DAT? Will it operate on its own until the new Sabena II is hatched?

3. What should Sabena pilots do now that they may be jobless soon? Are there good aviation jobs to be had in Belgium other than Ryanair?


Best of luck to all involved!
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Old 6th Nov 2001, 23:51
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news just in 1941 GMT 06.11.01 on BBC Sabena is filing for bancrupsy and all operations now ceased, its all over - OFFICIAL
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Old 7th Nov 2001, 00:11
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Tried to start thread on SABENA last night, but it was locked (probably because I was third in line) CNN and BBC World have just reported that the end has happened. Sorry to all those involved
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Old 7th Nov 2001, 01:39
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No one should gloat when an airline goes and jobs are lost. However, no airline should be propped up by the state - sink or swim. In the long run, survival of the fittest promotes competition and more choice for passengers - even if that may not appear to be the case in the short term.

GO and easyJet are doing well - and were doing well before the recession hit. They get no state aid (but Stelios is not too happy about the BA start up assistance for GO!) and the repeated illegal propping up of Sabena, Olympic, Air France etc. artificially skews the market. The UK has more choice than anywhere else in Europe and I believe that the deregulation and lack of public funds we see here is the key.

RIP Sabena - but it is "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" - Spock, Start Trek II.
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Old 7th Nov 2001, 01:58
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According to reports on VRT TV, DAT will not be continuing to operate as had been the plan - VEX was the only potential investor and they of course have pulled out.

So the entire Sabena Group is in liquidation.
 
Old 7th Nov 2001, 02:40
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Declaration of Mr. Fred Chaffart, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sabena SA, after the meeting of the Board of Directors on Tuesday, November 6, 2001

With regret I have to announce that the Board of Directors of Sabena SA/NV has, as is required by law, been obliged to request the court to end the legal composition (‘Concordat judiciare’) and to file for bancruptcy. This means that the court most probably will soon declare the company bancrupt.

The Board is forced to take this decision due to the increasingly bad results of Sabena, caused by several factors :

* The continued lack of profitability of the company;

* The aggressive expansionist strategy of Swissair, its sudden reversal in 2001, followed by the non-payment of a contractually promised capital increase;

* The legal composition of Swissair;

* The wild strikes of the previous months;

* The crisis in the aviation industry, dramatically increased by the September 11 events in the USA.

I understand how hard this news is for the Sabena personnel and I share their disappointment. But we should not lose the future out of sight. All possible is and will be done to confront the current dramatic situation.

Plans are being developed, with Belgian investors and financial institutions, and with Virgin Express, to start a smaller, more adequate airline activity, based on the regional airline DAT. This activity would focus on Europe, with possibly some profitable long haul destinations. Objective is to keep the country, out of Zaventem, linked with the rest of the world and to guarantee employment possibilities for thousands of people;

There are continued efforts to transfer our subsidiaries to new and more stable owners while maintaining a maximum of employment. Mention can be made of Sobelair, Sabena Technics, Sabena Hotels, Atraxis Belgium and others.

Together with the Belgian Government employment and assistance plans are foreseen. The trade unions have been invited to start negotiations on the social plan with the Belgian Government this evening, chaired by the social conciliator. Objective is to define support and assistance for alle concerned employees;

* Starting this evening all European and intercontinental flights of Sabena will be suspended. This will also be the case for at least tomorrow. We therefore appeal Sabena passengers not to come to the airport. We apologize towards our passengers for the inconvenience caused by this decision and try to limit the consequences as soon as possible. We ask our passengers to take up contact with their travel agent. More clearity on possibilities of rebooking and refund is expected in the coming days. Hope is expressed to start short haul operations as soon as possible and that more information on an eventual more extensive.
 

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