Avantair, the Clearwater, Florida, fractional ownership operation, shut down on Wednesday and furloughed all of its pilots and workers. The company, which operated a fleet of Piaggio Avanti twin turboprops, said it needs additional financing to start flying again and is in danger of having some airplanes repossessed.
Avantair employed around 500 people and operated out of St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it is facing a class-action lawsuit by customers and needs to secure additional funding to start operating again. The filing also noted that the company is behind on payments for some of its aircraft.
Avantair’s employees did not receive paychecks on Friday.
Twice in the past year Avantair grounded its fleet to conduct safety reviews of aircraft. The lawsuit, filed in Oklahoma, says Avantair has failed to “adequately service” customers since the inspections began.
In a statement on Wednesday the company said, “Today Avantair conducted a furlough of its employees as it addresses liquidity issues. The company regrets having to enter into this process and the inconvenience this brings to Avantair's owners and card holders but believes it to be the most prudent action at this time. It is hopeful that it will soon be in a position to resume operations.”
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