Silverjet could be back up and flying again within days, after a Swiss investment firm has agreed to buy it back from the administrators. Kingplace, an Irish off-the-shelf company backed by Geneva-based Heritage Cie, finalised principal terms with Silverjet’s administrators, Begbies Traynor.Silverjet’s former Chief Executive Lawrence Hunt, who is also the chief architect in securing the Heritage backing, said the deal is expected to be signed by Friday 13 June.
He said: “I am personally delighted that we now have the necessary backing from a long-term investor to relaunch Silverjet. We have received fantastic support from our staff, customers and partners in helping us put this deal together.”
Hunt pledged to relaunch the airline’s Dubai and New York services as soon as possible. He said: “We will be working around the clock to launch our New York and Dubai services as quickly as possible and we will make an announcement about the date for re-launching our services in due course.”
Ian Ilsley, Heritage chairman and a director of Kingplace, said the new owners would honour the tickets of customers stranded when Silverjet ran out of cash, if a deal was completed. He said: “Kingplace can confirm that it has agreed terms with Begbies Traynor to acquire Silverjet. If these negotiations are successful, we expect to take on all of the existing staff, to honour Silverjet’s existing customers’ tickets and see Silverjet return to the skies in a matter of weeks.”
The rescue deal is the second in four weeks. Viceroy Holdings, a United Arab Emirates backed financier, had agreed to inject a mixture of debt and equity into the business. However Silverjet was forced to call in administrators when it attempted to draw on Viceroy’s loan and found that there was no money available.
The ink of the new deal is still yet to dry because it is subject to contractual completion by the end of the week.
Oil cost less than US$50 a barrel when Silverjet launched its maiden flight in January 2007, however with prices now over US$130 and rising, carriers across the aviation industry have been hit hard. In the luxury airline sector alone, MAXjet, Eos and Silverjet have all gone under since last December. Silverjet, which flew three planes, burned through over £70m since its launch.