For some time, there have been ongoing rumors about financial problems Aviapartner Ostend is facing. This has been confirmed now by the ground handler’s step to file for insolvency, requesting protection against creditors. This safeguard mechanism ends on March 6th.
The good news for airlines serving Ostend is that Aviapartner is still operating at the airport, rendering full handling services. The bad news is, however, that time runs out with no successor
known or a restructuring program proclaimed based on major cash injections.
Belgian airport Ostend and its airline customers are currently facing a critical situation because Aviapartner is the only agent offering ground handling services there. Attempts by CargoForwarder Global to shed more light on the case have largely failed. The airport’s website is flat since days and Ostend’s Marketing and Communications Manager Vanessa Flamez was not available on her cell, despite multiple call attempts. Also, requests addressed to Aviapartner Brussels’ Executive Management Assistance Marina Put, asking her to enable this publication to talk directly to their Ostend facility have fizzled out.
Wall of silence
As a legally independent company, Aviapartner Ostend is no subject to any instruction by the namesake of the Avia group based at Brussels Zaventem Airport.
Whatever the case, it is an astonishing wall of silence, particularly intolerable for the handler’s and airport’s customers as well as the employees who have a right to be fully informed about the situation and which solutions might emerge.
As various credible secondary sources confirmed to CargoForwarder Global, Milan, Italy-based logistics company BCUBE might jump in to take over Aviapartner Ostend. “There have been talks and from all what’s heard they seem to be willing to acquire the agent at Ostend,” stated a manager close to the case.
Phoenix out of the ashes?
Will they become Aviapartner’s ‘White Knight’, rescuing the agent at OST? Smarter and also cheaper would be if BCUBE waits until 6 March when the creditor protection ends, buying AP OST out of bankruptcy and restructure the business. If so, it would be a kind of Phoenix out of the ashes rebirth.
More will be known by latest three weeks.
1952 founded B3 runs 118 stations around the globe, including an office in Belgium. Last year the company turned over 600 million euros.
Their head of marketing Ewa Mikor was not available for comment.
UPDATE - Statement by Vanesse Flamez
In an email sent to us following the publication of this report, Ostend's Mrs Flamez asked us to publish this statement to clearify the handling situation at her airport following a meeting with a Trustee that was appointed by the Court.
"The airport signed an NDA with the Trustee. All negotiations to preserve the continuity of the handling at the airport are strictly running under supervision of the Court and in order not to put these negotiations in danger, we were asked to sign this NDA (non-disclosure agreement - hs).
We are thus under a strict speaking ban.
We can only reiterate that the continuity of the handling at the airport in Oostende is fully guaranteed.
We are now seeking to protect the current workforce of Aviapartner to make sure everybody still has a job after the restructuring.
As soon as legally possible we will give you more information.
What we already can give you as a scoop is that in light of the positive process of restructuring Aviaparter, a new application has been
made to the Court. The hearing is set for February 28th, but we can assure you Aviapartner will not go bankrupt on March 6th."