Nearly 300 Irish jobs lost as charter firm TransAer goes into liquidation


The Dublin-based charter airline, TransAer, has gone into liquidation, in a move which will cost 545 jobs in Ireland, Britain, Germany and Greece. The company employed 298 people in Ireland, 136 in Britain, 55 in Greece and Germany, and an additional 56 contract staff at various locations.

Last night at Dublin Airport, Aer Rianta seized an Airbus A320 aircraft leased by the airline. TransAer is believed to owe about £200,000 in landing fees and charges to the State-owned airport company. The aircraft, worth $30 $40 million, is one of two leased to TransAer by a Japan-based company, Orix Aviation.

SunWorld and Falcon/JWT, the Irish holiday companies which use TransAer aircraft, said they had made alternative arrangements to fly holidaymakers to and from Lanzarote, Larnaca, Malaga and Rome this weekend.

TransAer's chief executive, Mr Willie O'Byrne, blamed the collapse on the Kosovan war last year and the entry last September of its US trading partner into examinership, which gives court protection from creditors.

While the company traded profitably this year, the collapse last Friday of a proposed merger with a British company, HeavyLift Cargo Airlines, meant new investment was required this week. Attempts to secure such funding failed.

The company, which is 91 per cent-owned by Sligo businessman Mr P.J. McGoldrick, started trading in 1992. A one-time pilot and former chief executive at Ryanair, Mr McGoldrick was HeavyLift Cargo's first chief executive when that company was established in the 1980s.

Attempts last night to obtain comment from HeavyLift Cargo failed.

Mr O'Byrne said: "There will be very significant job losses. We sought a voluntary winding up and ultimately all jobs will be lost."

Mr O'Byrne declined to comment when asked how much money TransAer owed its creditors. The airline was making arrangements to fly staff home from various locations.

In addition to nine Airbus A320 aircraft, the company also leased four Airbus A300s from GECAS, the Shannon-based subsidiary of the US multinational General Electric, which operates the former GPA business.

Along with its arrangements with Orix, TransAer leased six A320 aircraft from ICFC, a subsidiary of the US group AIG and another from Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprises.

Mr O'Byrne said TransAer would attempt to return aircraft to those companies, but this was in the hands of its liquidators, the accounting firm McStay Luby.