The private jet taxi service had been operating under a French version of bankruptcy
Wijet confirms it is closing its French subsidiary; says it will resume flights in January via subsidiaries in Luxembourg and Belgium
A French court has ordered Judicial Liquidation of Wijet’s French company
It follows nearly two years of troubles and the unrelated closure of XJC Jets in the UK earlier this month
Wijet, which was in the news last year after shutting down its U.K. subsidiary, has stopped taking bookings, according to at least one employee and multiple additional sources. An executive contact did not respond to phone calls or emails requesting comment.
The separately owned air taxi is still listed as a partner on Air France’s website. It was a relationship Air France continued despite Wijet’s troubles.
Updated Dec. 18, 2019 – 5:05 PM EST – Air France partnership
A spokesperson for Air France said there is “no further information at this time” regarding its partnership with Wijet.
Updated Dec. 18, 2019 – 11:59 AM EST – French Court Judgement
An order of Judicial Liquidation ordered on Dec. 16, 2019 (below), in Paris again Wijet has now been posted. According to law firm White & Case, “Judicial liquidation proceedings apply to a debtor that is insolvent and whose restructuring is obviously impossible. The debtor is no longer in possession and the liquidator is, therefore, charged to sell the assets as a whole or piecemeal.”
Updated Dec. 17, 2019 – 9:36 AM EST – Sarah Djeradi of Wijet emailed the following statement:
“I guess you are talking about the French subsidiary of our group. We do not plan to stop our flights as our AOC and aircraft are based in Luxembourg. As we enter the lowest point of the annual season, we are indeed closing the French subsidiary as our operations have grown in Luxembourg and Belgium with our AOC partners. You may remember our roadmap when we closed Blink back in 2018. We are also transferring lease titles between entities in Luxembourg, hence the fact we cancel flights until January 11th, 2020. Over the last months, we have had an extremely strong demand for our service on HondaJets and we are looking forward to resuming flights in January 2020 with our AOC partners.“
Its troubles follow the shutdown earlier this month of XJC Jets, an unrelated charter operator backed by young U.K. rich list entrepreneur Chris Phillips.
European business aviation analyst WingX recently reported the industry there continues to battle strong headwinds.
Wijet was operating under court supervision since last year, a French version of bankruptcy or reorganization, according to people familiar with the process.
Promotional copy on Air France’s website promises, “Travel in a private jet between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and your preferred airport in metropolitan France or Europe. Take advantage of a business aviation service that guarantees your comfort and saves time, available before or after your flight in the La Première cabin.”
It adds, “Depart at the time of your choice and board immediately, with no need to check-in. And benefit from simplified security procedures. If needed, we can also organize your transport by taxi or limousine.”
Describing the experience, Air France says, “Onboard your private jet, you will experience Air France service à la française (French style). From the comfort of one of 4 leather Club seats, enjoy a bright and relaxing environment, as well as exceptional champagne and pastries from a prestigious Paris bakery.”
Wijet has stopped taking bookings
A representative of Wijet declined to give her name. However, she said as of yesterday, the company was told it could no longer accept bookings. She would not say why.
Court documents forwarded last year to Private Jet Card Comparisons from its reorganization showed as of August 2018 the company had 23 employees.
The documents stated, “The Company has an available asset of €700,000, its current liability being €500,000. It is therefore not in a state of cessation of payments.”
However, it was ordered to manage its debt under the supervision of a judiciary administrator named by the Trade Court.
Wijet and Jet Aviation
News this Spring was brighter. In May, Jet Aviation signed a Fixed Base Operation service agreement to provide handling services in Europe.
In a press release from Jet Aviation, it noted, “Formerly based in the UK, Wijet moved its operations to continental Europe in 2018. It is the exclusive partner of Air France La Premiere for all business aviation requests.”
It added, “With a backlog of 13 more Hondajets from a 2017 agreement, Wijet expects to manage 16 business jets in the near future.”
The Wijet representative said the private jet provider has six Hondajets in service.
The Air Operator Certificate on Wijet’s website lists Fly Group Lux S.A.
Wijet lists Flying Group Lux S.A. as its AOC. However (above), a website for the company doesn’t list any Hondajets in its fleet section.
In March, Aviation International News reported (below), Wijet had taken delivery of its first HondaJet. Registered as LX-WJA it was already selling charters. It said a second very light jet was due to arrive within weeks.
Private jet database Amstat, lists Honda Aircraft Company, LLC, as the airplane’s owner.
AIN added, “The first Wijet HondaJet is operating from the company’s Paris Le Bourget headquarters. The aircraft operator certificate under which the HondaJets are flying is listed as Luxembourg-based Flying Group Lux.”
In the Jet Aviation press release, Wijet CEO Jean-François Hochenauer, said, “We have an aggressive plan to grow our fleet and wanted a reliable partner we can trust to deliver quality services to our clients as we expand the business. Having recently relocated from the UK to the continent in order to be closer to our customers, Jet Aviation’s extensive FBO network is highly reputed and extends a lot of tangible benefits.”
Wijet and The Good Life
An interview on a website called The Good Life was conducted this past August. It noted, “After a quick restructuring in 2018, Wijet has managed to raise its head to celebrate its 10 years this year with new faster and more comfortable planes.”
In tWijet marketing manager Sarah Djerardi, said, “We have, for the moment, only very good news to announce… but soon! New developments that will have consequences for the business aviation market in general. And even if that is not our main objective, we want to attract potential customers who are not yet traveling by jet. This could go through subscription formulas, new services, joint actions with Air France.”
Djerardi said at the time Wijet was operating four of Hondajets. A website called JetPhotos.com shows pictures of three planes. LX-WJA is shown at Rennes-Saint Jacques in June, LX-WJB in Geneva and LX-WJD in Munich, both in August.
A charter broker said it had booked clients with Wijet in November without issues.
A person close to the situation said he expected court documents to be released in the next several days.
Djerardi didn’t respond to requests for comment. At least one supplier to Wijet said they hadn’t been able to reach executives for more than a week.