European jet card and charter operator Wijet to cease operations (updated) or restructure?

Earlier this year Wijet said it was ordering 16 new HondaJet aircraft to expand its charter business. Now, it’s future is unclear.

 

Updated (June 29 – 6:45pm): 

Patrick Hersent, the Group CEO of Wijet, has exclusively confirmed to Private Jet Card Comparisons that the UK side of the business will enter receivership on Monday. He said he resigned two weeks ago and officially leaves the business tomorrow, Saturday and staff were notified of the company plans today. He said the European side of the business will continue, however, he is not sure of the final plan. The UK side, which represented the former Blink, held the group’s Air Operator’s Certificate, issued by the UK authorities so even if the French side tries to continue it would have to negotiate both airplane leases and find an operator with an AOC, he says. Hersent said he is not aware of what’s owed to consumers or vendors. He said the decision was made by the Supervisory Board however, he declined to comment further.

Updated (June 30 – 7:11am) – We received the following email from Alexandre Azoulay, a co-founder of Wijet – including a press release dated for tomorrow July 1, 2018:

The Wijet Group (Luxembourg) is keeping its continental Europe operations going as usual. The UK subsidiary – one of many in the group –  is being shut down progressively because of the uncertainty caused by the Brexit. Wijet will roll out its new fleet in the next weeks and reposition its entire operations in the EU in view of Brexit.

Blackbushe, July 1st 2018 – Wijet Holding Luxembourg is announcing it is giving up its British Airline Operator Certificate, previously obtained through the Octobre 2016 acquisition of Blink UK limited . The operations of the group’s British subsidiaries are halted, as ground and air operations will be progressively transferred to Continental Europe- based partner operators.

This decision comes fifteen months after the acquisition of Blink UK, in which the Ogden family was a major shareholder. The company was found to never have been profitable, with an aging fleet of aircraft and a cost structure not fit to on demand air charter. Integration issues also triggered inefficiencies that could not be solved for. The doubts around the deadline of March 2019 from the EASA accelerated the decision to look for a solution to contionue operating flights within the European Union. Intra UK flights accounted for less that 10% of the group’s sales.

The Blink brand will disappear, and the Group will refocus its resources to the only Wijet brand, a landmark in the European business aviation landscape since 2010. Wijet was first to introduce a fixed price per flight hour in business aviation. It is also the exclusive partner of Air France for last mile connections to and from the Charles de Gaule hub.

Most recently, The Wijet group struck a deal with Honda Aircraft Corporation to introduce a new generation of aircrafts, the H420, which better matches the requirements of clients for on demand charter.

Updated (June 30 – 12:38 pm)

After a telephone conversation this morning, Wijet has provided us an additional statement from Jean Francois Hochenauer who is the Chief Operating Officer of Wijet:

“The UK market accounts for only 10% of our business, and with Brexit moving forward, it will be less significant. In terms of shutting our U.K. operations, it is like General Motors, they may shut one plant, but they are still continuing in business. Or it’s like a single Marriott hotel closing down, that doesn’t mean Marriott doesn’t exist anymore!

“We could have easily gotten another AOC in the EU, but we are moving from a full stack airline, with everything from operating aircraft and maintenance, to a model like Wheels Up, where they have their fleet of aircraft, but outsource all the operations to a partner, in their case GAMA Aviation. This is a much scalable and efficient operation. We plan on taking delivery of the HondaJet aircraft we have ordered. They will be flown by partner operators in the EU, which we will be announcing in the coming weeks. The aircraft will have the Wijet brand and will be operated by the name of the operator on the side, so they will be Wijet branded.”

Original article starts below:

Three separate sources have told Private Jet Card Comparisons that European on-demand private jet charter and jet card membership operator Wijet has informed its staff, including pilots, it is planning to wind down operations over the weekend, and it is understood the company may be placed into receivership as early as Monday. (Wijet has said that the wind-down will be for its UK operations per the above). A Wijet employee reached via telephone in Paris said the company is still operating flights and requested questions be directed via email, which have yet to be answered. Private Jet Card Comparisons has not been able to view any of the internal to staff emails.

Air Partner finishes accounting review and reports ‘strong’ results

Shares of the U.K.-based private jet charter and jet card broker had been suspended last month after a prolonged review of its financial statements

 

In what might be a sigh of relief for the private jet charter industry, Air Partner PLC announced today it had completed a review of its past financial statements and reported results for its year that ended January 31, 2018. While the company had said its business was solid, following the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of Zetta Jet and ImagineAir ceasing operations, Air Partner’s announcement on May 31 that it would cease trading in its shares until accounts were sorted caused unease. Today the company reported £261.3 million gross transaction value, the amount it invoiced to customers with a £36.1 million gross profit and £5.8 million underlying profit before tax. It reported having £4.8 million in cash excluding deposits for jet cards, the money you pay in advance and is held before your flights. It also said its Net Promoter Score rose from 75% to 79%. 

Jet card and private jet charter seller Air Partner suspends shares on continued accounting woes (Updated)

Shares in U.K. traded Air Partner were suspended yesterday as it continues to work through accounting woes it says are not related to current trading

 

Note:  Air Partner has provided a statement to Private Jet Card Comparisons at the end of this article.

Air Partner, which sells jet cards and on-demand charter, said it had agreed to suspend trading in its shares yesterday, according to multiple reports from the U.K. A report in The Telegraph, said Air Partner and its board had agreed with auditor Deloitte it would now not be able to publish its annual accounts until June 11 at the latest and requested the shares be suspended until then. Air Partner chairman Peter Saunders, commented the delay was “extremely frustrating and hugely disappointing,” continuing, “It is a reflection of the volume of work, which began seven weeks ago, to conclude a transparent, thorough, and exhaustive internal review and audit.” 

Exclusive: Regional jet card and private charter operator ImagineAir suspends operations

ImagineAir was serving over 1,000 eastern U.S. airports with a fleet of Cirrus SR22 single-engine props and offering prepaid memberships up to $50,000

 

ImagineAir, a Georgia-based operator of Cirrus SR22s, which last November had said it planned to double its fleet of 14 single-engine aircraft has suspended operations, Private Jet Card Comparisons has learned. An email sent by the company said flights were suspended on May 24, 2018, although the email apparently only was sent to members and brokers in the past 24 hours. The company’s website is still active and is pricing flights, and we were able to get to where they wanted our credit card data for payment. Likewise, there was still an active area for members to use credits to pay for flights. Calls to the phone number listed on its website returned a busy signal.

Zetta Jet Closes Down; Set For Chapter 7 Liquidation

Zetta Jet was trying to compete against NetJets and VistaJet in offering long-haul, luxury private jet charter and jet card programs

 

The saga of Zetta Jet looks to be over, save for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. It comes about a week after an announcement that the luxury private jet operator had secured $8.5 million in funding and ends a bumpy two-year journey that included boardroom brawls, accusations of fraud and a September visit to Chapter 11.