Airline survival plans to be heard

THE High Court has extended court protection for Aer Arann to Friday next when it will be asked to approve survival plans for the troubled airline.

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan was told yesterday a majority of the airline’s creditor classes had met and approved the scheme of arrangement put forward by examiner Michael McAteer.

Rossa Fanning, for the examiner, said that, of 16 creditor classes, 12 had voted on the proposals of which nine were in favour. Four meetings were inquorate and these would be reconvened this week.

Counsel said the Revenue Commissioners — which are owed some €2 million — had voted against the terms on a “principled” basis while there was also opposition from another creditor, ATR, although he believed the latter’s position had since modified.

Mr Fanning added the examiner was anxious that the court deal as soon as possible with the application for confirmation of the scheme of arrangement.

Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan said she would do so on Friday and she also made directions for the relevant parties to be notified of the hearing prior to that.

Creditors of Aer Arann are owed some €29.5m but are set to receive just €2.2m from the airline’s new investors in settlement of their debts. Mr McAteer has agreed an investment of €3.5m with British transport group Stobart and businessman Pádraig Ó Céidigh, who owns the airline. Under the terms proposed, they will purchase Aer Arann for €1.

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