Debonair aftermath: Flightline and British Midland pick up the pieces


Efforts to sell grounded Debonair as a whole have failed. Several airlines were approached as potential buyers, including Lufthansa and Virgin Express, but no agreement was reached.

  • Debonair had operated three BAe 146s on Swissair Express services from Zürich. Following Debonair’s grounding, Crossair temporarily took over the flights to Bologna with Avro RJs, while Italian airline Volare operated the Turin and Venice flights with A320s. Swissair had to scramble to avoid an interruption of service to Bologna, since loads were very high in early October because of a commercial fair in town. Eventually, the contract to take over Debonair’s Swissair Express services was awarded to Flightline, who is already operating a single BAe 146-200 on Swissair Express services from Zürich to London Stansted. Flightline took over the same three BAe 146-200s that Debonair had been using — G-DEBK (msn E2012), -DEBL (msn E2014), and -DEBM (msn E2016) — and hired a number of former Debonair crewmembers. Services resumed on 26 October. Under the winter schedule effective on 31 October, Bologna will receive an additional daily flight, for a total of four, while Turin services will be cut back from four to three daily flights.
  • Debonair had operated five BAe 146s on behalf of Lufthansa on routes from Münich. In contrast to Swissair, Lufthansa at first suspended these services, and it was not until the following week that a number of temporary arrangements were made to allow some of them to resume. Although Jersey European was favored to win the contract, Lufthansa decided to select one of its strategic partners. As a result, British Midland was awarded the contract to operate the service, taking over the five aircraft that Debonair had been operating and hiring the necessary personnel. Difficulties in transfering the leases on the aircraft have so far prevented the services from being resumed.

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