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.
Recent news items on Debonair:
- Debonair orphans find homes (2000-04-28)
- BRAL adds former Debonair BAe 146 (2000-01-22)
- Former Debonair BAe 146 returns to Australia (1999-12-31)
- Debonair aftermath: Flightline and British Midland pick up the pieces (1999-10-30)
- WDL BAe 146-200 enters service (1999-05-31)