Private Jet Company Superior Air Files for Bankruptcy Protection

(Bloomberg) -- Superior Air Charter LLC filed for bankruptcy protection, unable to keep its private charter service aloft while the coronavirus curtails travel.

The aviation company listed liabilities of $50 million to $100 million and assets of no more than $10 million, according to a Chapter 11 petition filed with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware.

Superior is affiliated with JetSuite, the private jet charter company, which had to ground its fleet of planes April 15 and furloughed most of its crewmembers, according to its website. JetSuite cited the Covid-19 outbreak, which has forced travel corporations across the globe to shut operations to stem the spread.

The filing gives Superior Air’s management a break on its debts while it works out a recovery plan. Superior Air arranged a $3.6 million bankruptcy loan to help maintain operations during its restructuring process, court papers show.

Potential Sale

The loan will be made by JetSuiteX Inc., which is Superior Air’s ultimate parent, and Delux Public Charter, LLC, another JetSuiteX affiliate, according to court papers. JetSuiteX isn’t included in the bankruptcy filing.

Managers will consider selling the company or individual assets as part of the bankruptcy.

JetSuite is a private jet airline that charters flights on its fleet of Embraer Phenom 100s, Phenom 300s and a Legacy 650. The company offers private flights throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Alex Wilcox, chief executive officer and founder of the company, was also a co-founder of JetBlue Airways Corp.

The company was founded in 2009, and at one point maintained 18 planes. But it was “beset by the incredibly tight margins common to the charter airline industry and was never able to operate profitably,” according to court documents. What’s more, it failed to penetrate the competitive East Coast market “due in large part to the unreliability of the planes the debtor had acquired for that purpose.”

Coronavirus Impact

This left Superior Air vulnerable when when travel curbs hit along with the pandemic. “Cash flows dropped by essentially 100% almost immediately after the restrictions went into place,” the company said.

The biggest unsecured creditor was Netflix Inc., which is owed $931,000, as well as Jet Support Services, which has claims of $658,000, according to court documents.

The case is Superior Air Charter LLC, 20-11007, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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