Italian leisure airline Blue Panorama has filed for bankruptcy protection. The airline stopped flying recently amid concerns about its financial position, and threats of a removal of its Air Operators Certificate from the Italian Civil Aviation Authority. The airline has struggled financially in the past, undertaking several previous restructurings prior to COVID.
In October, Blue Panorama notified ENAC that it would suspend all commercial activity immediately. As such, ENAC will proceed with the suspension of its licenses until the situation is resolved. As such, the airline is applying for protection from bankruptcy to give it time to restructure and agree on payment plans with its creditors.
In a statement, the airline noted, “Considering the persistence of the crisis in the aviation sector and the non-arrival of the compensation fund refreshments the carrier has chosen, with a view to business continuity and for the protection of creditors, to initiate this process.”
Early in the crisis, the Italian government had said that it would allocate some funding to support its smallest airlines – Air Dolomiti, Neos and Blue Panorama. At the time, it gave a figure of €130 million. However, reports suggest that this funding has not been received by the airlines.
Blue Panorama has been through restructuring several times already. Over the past ten years, it has been in and out of bankruptcy, with the most recent restructuring taking place in 2017. At that time, it was acquired by Gruppo Uvet, a prominent Italian tour operator.
Blue Panorama has a fleet of just 12 aircraft, according to ch-aviation.com. These are mostly Boeing 737s, with eight 737-800s and one each of the classic -300 and -400 in its fleet. Its only widebodies are two A333-200s which it used to fly to Cuba and Mexico. Previously it also had 767s in its fleet, but the last three exited the fleet at the height of the crisis in 2020.
One of its A330s has been flying recently, with 9H-RTU undertaking a rotation to Punta Cana on October 26th. That was its last flight, and it is now listed as stored. Its two A330s were already carrying the Luke Air livery, which was set to be the carrier’s rebranded identity in the future.