Concern at false airline details

INCORRECT information had been fed to courts in other jurisdictions relating to the insolvency of Aer Arann, it was revealed in the High Court yesterday.

Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan expressed concern about letters which had been sent out to courts in Scotland, England, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland asking that Aer Arann’s aircraft not be seized by creditors in those jurisdictions.

She told barrister Declan Murphy, counsel for the airline, that at the hearing which appointed Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as interim examiner requests had been made to permit the sending of letters requesting judicial assistance from elsewhere.

Judge Finlay Geoghegan said that despite protection of the High Court only having commenced, a letter had been sent out stating the company had been put in examinership and an examiner appointed.

“That wasn’t correct,” Judge Finlay Geoghegan said. She said the application made on August 26 last had been for the appointment of an interim examiner.

The judge made a declaration that yesterday’s application in the High Court was the main insolvency proceedings and said she was concerned that the letter which had emanated from the earlier High Court proceedings had stated the company had been placed in examinership.

Judge Finlay Geoghegan yesterday confirmed Mr McAteer as examiner after considering reports to the effect that the company had a reasonable prospect of survival if certain measures were taken. Mr McAteer, in his interim examiner’s report, stated a number of investors were interested in investing in the company’s future.

Mr Murphy told the court that Comhfhorbairt Gallimh, the company which operates Aer Arann, employed more than 300 people and it was in the interests of both creditors and employees that a Scheme of Arrangement be set up to protect the company into the future.

The court heard creditors included AIB, which was owed €3.9 million; the Revenue Commissioners, Dublin Airport Authority, Aer Lingus and the Irish Aviation Authority. AIB was prepared to provide a €1m overdraft to the airline during the period of court protection.


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