23-Oct-2012 11:54 AM

Hello suspends operation on 21-Oct-2012, seeking to recapitalise

Hello suspended all operations at 23:00 on 21-Oct-2012 as efforts continue to recapitalise the company with a new investor. Hello hopes to reorganise its business and resume operations, with CEO Robert Somers noting the Bankruptcy Court in Basel has given the carrier until at least the end of Nov-2012 to find a new buyer. The carrier said the reason for the closure was, “the financial implosion of two large French customers, ever higher fuel costs and the strong Swiss Franc, which led to the cancellation of a large contract with TUI Germany”. It also highlighted there is “an increasingly fierce competition” in the tourism business. The carrier also noted “financial errors” contributed to the carrier’s troubles. “There were serious bookkeeping errors by the former Chief Financial Officer,” the carrier said, noting the mistakes were identified following a detailed assessment of the airline’s accounts by his replacement after the member of senior management left the company at the end of Sep-2012. “All the business figures supplied to the board and the management on a weekly and monthly basis turned out to have been incorrect. Therefore, management and board were convinced there was sufficient funding available. However, this was not the case,” the company said. A social plan is in place for the 140 employees affected by the shutdown, the company said. The airline was established in Aug-2003 and prior to its suspension operated a fleet of four A320-210s on charter services to destinations in Sweden, North Africa, Greece, Spain and Turkey on behalf of tour operators and travel agents. The carrier is based at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, with secondary bases at Geneva and Zürich airports.  [more - original PR - German]

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