Bankruptcy administrator Zlatava Davidova set a creditors' meeting for Jan. 8, 2001, to appoint a creditor committee. "The task now is to keep the firm operating and find a new owner to replace Ayres," Davidova said.
Ayers was not available for comment Wednesday.
The petition was filed by Burlington, Wash.-based Pan Pacific Airways, Let staff and state-owned bailout bank Konsolidacni Banka.
Konsolidacni had claimed that Let's strategic partner, Ayres, had defaulted on its promise to bring operating capital to Let.
Pan Pacific filed suit for the return of its deposit on the purchase of five 19-seat L-420 planes, claiming that Let had not been proceeding with construction on schedule.
Most of Let's staff have been on forced leave for the past three months and have not been paid since May.
Let had been gearing up to double its workforce of 1,400 to fill more than $2 billion in orders from Federal Express Corp. and others for Ayers' Loadmaster, a 69-foot cargo plane designed with FedEx.
Ayres was supposed to finance the Loadmaster program with $30 million of its own funds plus $70 million from suppliers, such as Minneapolis-based electronics components and controls manufacturer Honeywell Inc. and Richfield, Ohio-based B.F. Goodrich Co., the world's largest manufacture of airplane landing gear.
Press reports have suggested that BAE Systems plc, formerly British Aerospace, might bid for Let. Officials at Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. have also said they may be interested in the Czech company.
Let posted a Kcs500 million ($12 million) loss on Kcs672 million in revenues in 1998, the most recent figures available.
Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (13 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1554 times:
I ordered two Ayres 7000s/Let 610Gs for City Connexion's regional routes at the Dubai Air Show last year - we spent a great deal of time and effort evaluating the aircraft and it would have been perfect for our 'bush' operations; and made sense for us to acquire as we already owned three Let 410UVPs.
However, when I visited the factory in Kunowice, I was astonished to find minimal staff and dust lying thick on half completed airframes - it was extremley obvious that nothing had been done for a considerable period of time.
The only work being performed was on various sections destined for the prototype Loadmaster - and even there less than 20 people were busy.
Unfortunately, Fred Ayres was seriously out of his depth and the manager he had put in charge of the operation was completely unsuited to it - a former small town banker from Georgia and a personal friend of Fred Ayres, he had no experience of aviation; manufacturing or indeed business outside the States. He also didn't speak any Czech.
Randall Brink is in the process of putting together a consortium to buy out Ayres' interest - I hope it works as both the Let 420 and 610 are good aircraft.