Debonair grounded

Debonair BAe 146 G-DEBC

Several Debonair BAe 146s seen parked at London Luton after the airline shut down (Ray Hill)

Luton-based BAe 146 operator Debonair entire fleet was grounded on 30 September after it ran out of cash. The low-cost airline has struggled during the three years since it began services in 1996, managing to turn a profit only once, in the last quarter of 1998, despite high load factors. In the first quarter of 1999, Debonair reported a UKP2.2 million loss. Although the company at first said it would continue to operate, all 12 of its aircraft are grounded — most at Luton. Accounting firm Deloitte & Touche have been called in as receivers, and are in talks with possible buyers. Virgin, Lufthansa, and Swissair have been mentioned as possible buyers — Debonair had been operating five BAe 146s on behalf of Lufthansa and three on behalf of Swissair Express. Both Lufthansa and Swissair are scrambling to find replacement aircraft.

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