The Cimber Sterling airline has been filed for bankruptcy following a decision by its owners not to continue to support the airline.
The airline’s collapse comes following a couple of years of economic turbulence and with major losses.
Last year, the company returned losses of DKK200million, despite an injection of funds and takeover in July 2011 by Ukrainian financier Igor Kolomojsky.
Last month, the company announced layoffs of 200 employees and the closure of several southern European routes.
Cimber Sterling said earlier on its website that Danes who have purchased flights abroad at a travel agency should contact their agency in order to find out how to return to Denmark.
Those who have purchased bankruptcy insurance will be able to have their tickets refunded.
The news of Cimber Sterling’s bankruptcy caused such major traffic to Cimber Sterling’s site, that of the Charter Travel Appeals Tribunal and of the Travel Guarantee Fund that all three sites crashed.
Both the Tribunal and Fund sites have set up a temporary site saying:
“If you are stuck abroad: If you purchased bankruptcy insurance when you purchased your ticket, and this is clear from your ticket, the Fund will be responsible for getting you home. You should contact SOS International which is helping the fund arrange transport home. The number to ring at SOS International is +45 38489345.
If you did not purchase bankruptcy insurance for your ticket when you purchased it, the Fund is unfortunately unable to help you get home and you must arrange this yourself”.
Telephone lines to SOS International, the Tribunal and Fund are currently under heavy pressure .
SOS has set up a task force to handle the many calls.
Domestic traffic affected
Cimber Sterling’s bankruptcy has left four Danish domestic airports without flights to Copenhagen. Cimber Sterling was the only airline to service Bornholm, Sønderborg, Billund and Karup.
“Cimber had an important role in the Danish infrastructure because they fed Copenhagen Airport with passengers for routes out of the country,” says Ole Kirchert Christensen of Travelbroker.
“Right now there are four domestic airports without aircraft,” he adds.
Aarhus and Aalborg are still being serviced, as these are serviced by SAS, which is introducing extra aircraft onto the route. Passengers from Aalborg are also able to use Norwegian.
“It is vital either that Cimber Sterling is reconstructed or that other operators take over the routes,” Kirchert Christensen says.
Cimber Sterling’s CEO Jan Palmer says in a news release that the company will be working with the insolvency administrator to attempt a reconstruction and continuation of at least some of the assets in the company.
“Our proposal to the administrator is that we initially and as a minimum maintain our flights with four aircraft on the regional routes that we service for SAS. At the same time we are proposing that with the administrator we investigate the possibility of getting more aircraft into the air in order to secure a larger part of the assets of the company for a possible new interested party,” Jan Palmer tells Ritzau Finans.
According to Ritzau Finans, Cimber Sterling has 832 employees and 26 aircraft.
“It is deeply unfortunate that the company Board has had to take the decision to file for bankruptcy. The Board and senior executives have been working intensely for several months to bring about turnaround. Unfortunately time ran out before we achieved our goal,” Palmer tells Ritzau Finans.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood