skidmarks
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Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:54 pm

With immediate effect Astraeus has ceased ops. and called in the receivers.

We were all called in to the boardroom and given the bad news at 12 noon today. Presumably a press release will be issued by the recievers.

I am currently emptying my desk and will be off home looking for work shortly.

Once all the aircraft are down they will be grounded until they are disposed of.

Andy   
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
lhr380
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:55 pm

Very sad news Andy. Best of luck getting something soon.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
shankly
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:58 pm

Thats sad news Andy. My best wishes

Had the impression that Astraeus had a nice little niche in the UK chater market
L1011 - P F M
 
UAL777UK
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:02 pm

That is really sad news, one of the best charter flights I ever had was with Astreus, the food, service etc was exceptional.

Andy, I hope you and other members of staff get another job soon.
 
BA777
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:07 pm

Does this mean the 2 currently with bmi will be grounded immediately too?
 
JU068
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:07 pm

Sad news...
I flew on them back in 2008 when they leased one of their B737-700s to Sterling. We flew from Copenhagen to Oslo. Shame that both airlines are gone now.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:13 pm

Andy, very sad news indeed for you and their team. I hope everyone is able to find something soon.


Dan
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
Someone83
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:32 pm

Does this all their flight, or will they cease to exist as a company? Currently they have several wet leases to other airlines
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:37 pm

Terrible news to get just before Christmas, chin up best of luck.
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
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BlueSky1976
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:42 pm

I guess this means goodbye to "Ed Force One"? My thoughts are with all affected employees...
The queen of the skies is dead.
 
eaa3
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:45 pm

Quoting someone83 (Reply 7):
Currently they have several wet leases to other airlines

Iceland Express has switched to CZA holidays and will operate their flights as scheduled using A320's from CZA.
 
lhr380
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:57 pm

Quoting BA777 (Reply 4):

That's a good point! Forget they were using them for 2 aircraft.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
Ronaldo747
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:02 pm

Best wishes, Andy and all your colleagues .... sad news indeed.
 
scrappy27
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:10 pm

Sorry to hear your news Andy..
Best of luck in future
 
jacobin777
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:13 pm

Quoting BlueSky1976 (Reply 9):
I guess this means goodbye to "Ed Force One"? My thoughts are with all affected employees...

That's the first thing I thought of as well.

I wonder if it has anything to do with "Master Bruce" doing "Bruce Air".

http://www.bruceair.co.uk/

Maybe "Master Bruce" needs another source of income (said in a very sarcastic tone)..  
"Up the Irons!"
 
aireuropeuk733
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:14 pm

From a reliable source, apparently after a difficult summer and not much on the horizon for winter contracts, coupled with a large debt, the owners decided that it wasn't worth putting any more money in. Iceland Express (majority owner) will continue to operate using other sub-chartered a/c but Astraeus has finished flying with immediate effect.


For the record, the fleet at the end was as follows:
757
G-OJIB operating Hajj for BMI
G-STRW BZZ based operating for MoD
G-STRX at LGW. Was due to depart tomorrow on lease to new Thai start-up Nakorn Chiangmai Airways
G-STRY operating Hajj for BMI but was due to go to HHN on maint today then winter lease with RX
(G-STRZ returned to lessor for onward lease to FedEx)
737-700
G-STRF operating for Iceland Express
(G-STRN returned to lessor for onward lease to Tonlesap Airlines)
737-300
G-STRI operating for Iceland Express
G-STRJ returned from Tonlesap Airlines lease. Currently in BOH on maint.
737-500
G-PJPJ operating for Iceland Express

AE733
It's nice to fly with friends
 
trijetsonly
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:27 pm

This seems to mean goodbye to Fivestar666, Ed Force One, Bruce Air and other features of this very unique and very special airline. A black day for everyone. My best wishes to all employees
Happy Landings
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:34 pm

Quoting aireuropeuk733 (Reply 15):
From a reliable source, apparently after a difficult summer and not much on the horizon for winter contracts, coupled with a large debt, the owners decided that it wasn't worth putting any more money in. Iceland Express (majority owner) will continue to operate using other sub-chartered a/c but Astraeus has finished flying with immediate effect.


For the record, the fleet at the end was as follows:
757
G-OJIB operating Hajj for BMI
G-STRW BZZ based operating for MoD
G-STRX at LGW. Was due to depart tomorrow on lease to new Thai start-up Nakorn Chiangmai Airways
G-STRY operating Hajj for BMI but was due to go to HHN on maint today then winter lease with RX
(G-STRZ returned to lessor for onward lease to FedEx)
737-700
G-STRF operating for Iceland Express
(G-STRN returned to lessor for onward lease to Tonlesap Airlines)
737-300
G-STRI operating for Iceland Express
G-STRJ returned from Tonlesap Airlines lease. Currently in BOH on maint.
737-500
G-PJPJ operating for Iceland Express

Seems to be quite busy for an airline going into receivership. I wonder how many of the aircraft leases will be transferred to Iceland Express, leaving the accumulated losses behind in the UK ?
 
eaa3
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:38 pm

Here is a letter to the staff:

,,21 November 2011
MEMO TO ALL STAFF

It is with great sadness that I must advise you that Astraeus Airlines has ceased operations with immediate effect.

The Board of Directors met this morning and concluded that with little visibility on start dates for proposed winter contracts, the forecast losses during the winter period were simply too great to allow Astraeus to continue in business. The board has resolved to place Astraeus into administration today. Mr Nick Cropper of Zolfo Cooper will be appointed in due course and will contact each member of staff.

This news will come as a great shock to many of you, and I appreciate that by this point in this note your thoughts are turning – quite correctly – to your own future. However, I have nevertheless set out below a very brief history of the recent events that have led to this decision.

As you know, I was the founding CEO of Astraeus and left the company in December 2007 at the point when it had started the transition from charter to ACMI business. The ACMI world is a challenging one and is best served through long-term year-round contracts which avoid the seasonal peaks and troughs of the standard leisure market.

The start of the Astraeus ACMI model encapsulated the best of these aims with contracts with bmi, Ghana International, Palmair, Trawel and ,of course, Iceland Express. Unfortunately for Astraeus, and in keeping with the difficult economic climate, these long-term contracts disappeared one by one leaving only Iceland Express as a long term client.

It is true to say that we had a very successful summer operations-wise with Thomas Cook and Thomson, and both were keen to work with us again next year. However, these are summer-only contracts and this leaves a difficult winter period to negotiate. This was not helped by the Icelandic summer season which is somewhat shorter than the traditional UK charter market adding to the stress of winter placements.

The summer 2011 season was also severely impacted by operational issues on the IEX and MOD contracts. Whether through crew shortages, or engines requiring shop visits halfway through the expected normal lifetime, the fact remains that costs outstripped revenue during the key summer months so we did not have the usual cash reserves required to take us through the lean winter months.

When I was asked by Palmi to rejoin Astraeus on 19th October 2011 it was on the basis that the company’s immediate financial needs had been recently met by a £5m funding injection (taking his overall investment in Astraeus to £25m) and that the future commercial outlook was strong. Regrettably, the expected contracts in Asia, South America and the Middle East failed to materialise on a timely basis and directly led to today’s announcement.

This was clearly not the position I expected when I returned to Astraeus and it is of great personal sadness that today I have to close down the company that I started almost 10 years ago. A bright future was just around the corner, but sometimes we are not blessed with the luxury of time to achieve that goal.

It only remains for me to place on record my sincere thanks to all our fantastic staff, who have given so much to the company in good times and troubled times. I wish you all the best for the future wherever it may take you and I am just so sorry that it did not work out the way we had all hoped.

Hugh Parry"
 
planejamie
Posts: 564
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:41 pm

What a sad sad day... What will BD do? Was one of the 757-200s still operating for them on scheduled routes or did that finish with the return of a BD A330-200?

Definitely not good news, my thoughts are with those looking for work right now, wish you all the best of luck!
 
bwaflyer
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:17 pm

bmi have been using 757s to operate some hajj charters from Heathrow and Manchester. They haven't been used on scheduled flights for a while now
 
jetset7e7
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:51 pm

Quoting bwaflyer (Reply 20):
bmi have been using 757s to operate some hajj charters from Heathrow and Manchester. They haven't been used on scheduled flights for a while now

G-STRY came into MAN today parked on remote, and once engines shut down. The airport quickly moved a tractor behind to 'impound' the aircraft

Shame to see them go, ZB used a few 757's last summer which was something a bit different

Mark
Retrofitted Blended Winglets - The Future Is On The Wing
 
Independence76
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:53 pm

Shame to see another carrier go.

Hope to see the employees with other jobs in the sky soon enough.
 
F9Animal
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:45 pm

This is such sad news to wake up to. I send my deepest sympathies to all of the employees, and I hope they find work quickly. This is one thing that I can't stand about this industry. I just get sick to see ANY airline fail.
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
vv701
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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:54 am

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:50 pm

Quoting planejamie (Reply 19):
What will BD do? Was one of the 757-200s still operating for them on scheduled routes or did that finish with the return of a BD A330-200?
Quoting aireuropeuk733 (Reply 15):
G-OJIB operating Hajj for BMI
Quoting aireuropeuk733 (Reply 15):
G-STRY operating Hajj for BMI but was due to go to HHN on maint today then winter lease with RX

Both aircraft were operating Hadj Pilgrimage flights to Saudi (all to JED?) from both LHR and MAN.

Don't know when G-OJIB was scheduled for return to Astraeus.
 
rdwootty
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:55 pm

That just shows that, even a busy airline can lose money in the summer and then, for the UK winter is a graveyard.
It is really sad and I feel for the staff who, no doubt, worked thier.... off in the summjer. with the expectation of a little respite during the winter period.
Also , judging from the comments of Thomson and Thomas Cook . the posibilities of business from them next summer has reduced.
All in All a very sad time and this just shows how the bankers are to blame. They caused the whole market place to shiver and feel the cold
 
sergy2k
Posts: 67
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:09 pm

What would the options be this year for airlines in the event of snow and stranded aircraft? I remember Astraeus coming to the rescue last year for a number of airlines. Who would they now go to?
 
cuban8
Posts: 250
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:17 pm

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:22 pm

Quoting sergy2k (Reply 26):
What would the options be this year for airlines in the event of snow and stranded aircraft? I remember Astraeus coming to the rescue last year for a number of airlines. Who would they now go to?


Basically, all charter companies are struggling during winter time. So finding some extra lift during winter time is not that hard. I'm sure Thomson, Thomas Cook, Jet2 and other has extra capacity during winter season.
When business goes to hell, you get rid of three things. Your private jet, your yacht and your mistress..........and most importantly in that order.
~ Russian Billionaire ~
 
thegoldenargosy
Posts: 618
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:46 pm

Quoting skidmarks (Thread starter):
I am currently emptying my desk and will be off home looking for work shortly.

My sympathies go out to you and your colleagues. I hope you all can find new jobs in the industry we all love.
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:09 pm

The last several years have been tough on the airline industry worldwide and now there's another one for the airline graveyard.



Quoting rdwootty (Reply 25):
That just shows that, even a busy airline can lose money in the summer and then, for the UK winter is a graveyard.

Typically European charter operators have leased out their a/c to airlines in North America during the winter season, as many of these airlines have higher demand for charters to warm weather destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico. These same carriers would send their spares to Europe during the Summer when there is lesser demand for charters in North America. But many of the airlines on both sides of the Atlantic that benefited from these arrangements have gone out of business in recent years. I'm not sure if Astraeus participated in such arrangement since they probably had enough charter and wet lease business to not need to sublease their fleet to North American operators.

Quoting Jacobin777 (Reply 14):

I just had to tweet that link to friend of mine that's a huge Iron Maiden fan.....
 
BA777
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:09 pm

Quoting sergy2k (Reply 26):
What would the options be this year for airlines in the event of snow and stranded aircraft? I remember Astraeus coming to the rescue last year for a number of airlines. Who would they now go to?

Titan? Or Ryanair have plenty of spare a/c this winter. Also as mentioned above, most airlines are not particularly busy here in winter.

So will OJIB and STRY be impounded when they land?
 
vv701
Posts: 5895
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:54 am

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:12 pm

Quoting sergy2k (Reply 26):
Who would they now go to?


There were three main British ACMI operators, Astraeus, Flightline and Titan. The first two have sadly gone to the wall. So Titan will be the first stopping point in the UK. But round Europe there are alternatives that include WDL in Germany and EuroAtlantic in Portugal.

I think that one of the problems for ACMI operators in the northern hemisphere is the movement of the Hadj Pilgrimage out of the Winter schedules and into the end of the Summer Schedules.

The Hadj has been in the northern hemisphere Winter Season for something approaching 15 years. But now with the change in the Islamic calendar compared to the Gregorian calendar it is no longer providing that extra winter demand for larger ACMI aircraft. So the ACMI operators of larger aircraft are increasingly having to rely on schedule airlines' aircraft having maintenance problems. And the Hadj will not provide winter support again for around another 15 years. This is because the Islamic calendar makes a complete cycle through the Gregorian calendar every 32 years.

The relatively small Winter Holiday business is of little use as its needs are easily met by the aircraft of the Summer Tour operators.
 
jetset7e7
Posts: 1009
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 8:56 pm

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:41 pm

Quoting BA777 (Reply 30):
So will OJIB and STRY be impounded when they land?

Not read my post then?

Mark
Retrofitted Blended Winglets - The Future Is On The Wing
 
sergy2k
Posts: 67
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:49 pm

Thanks for the replies all.
 
theobcman
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:54 pm

Quoting VV701 (Reply 24):

Just out of interest the BD Hajj flights to JED were they direct or stopping where ?
 
dhr
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:10 pm

Its a sad day for British aviation and a shame that the once powerfull UK charter airline business model has died practically over the last decade.

How much debt has the airline amassed for it to go into administration, couldn't it sleep over the winter period?
 
skidmarks
Topic Author
Posts: 6614
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:51 pm

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:15 pm

Quoting theobcman (Reply 34):
Just out of interest the BD Hajj flights to JED were they direct or stopping where

Direct although they did tend to start from maybe MAN, return to LHR, do another one and go to LGW. A nightmare trying to plan maintenance I can tell you. Never knew where the bloody aircraft were from one day to the next.

But, it is a sad day as the people I worked with were fantatstic. Totally un-PC, open and frank, easy to work with, friendly, helpful and manically busy. I was hoping my contract would lead to something more permanent but sadly it looks like I may have tipped them over the edge! lol

Just before all this happened there was talk of a 757 to BKK and another to somewhere else in that area. Also an 8 month contract next summer with Thomas Cook for 2 aircraft. And a contract in Gabon for 3 737's. Sadly, as is evinced, none of this proved viable or werre simply pie in the sky. And obviously the moneymen decided enough is enough and pulled the plug.

And I left the dongle for my wireless mouse plugged into the company laptop - will my troubles never end?????

Andy   
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
asgeirs
Posts: 508
Joined: Sat May 05, 2001 7:34 am

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:36 pm

It makes me sad to see Astraeus disappear from the scene.  

My thoughts go to Andy and the rest of the Astraeus staff. During the two periods the company operated flights on behalf of Iceland Express (2003 to 2005 and 2008 to 2011), I had the pleasure to travel with them around 20 times.

What also makes me sad (and angry too), as an Icelander, is the fact that two great airlines have now been run to the ground by some of the self-proclaimed Icelandic "financial gurus" that had more than little to do with the 2008 Icelandic financial collapse.

First, danish Sterling Airlines - and now Astraeus receives the same fate.  
Reykjavik Aviation Photography - Just bring the aircraft to us and we'll photograph them! :-)
 
9VSIO
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:24 am

I've had the pleasure of traveling on Astraeus during my school days and it always brings back fond memories - the best being served an English breakfast on board at some unearthly hour after a whole week of continental breakfasts! Very sad to see it go  
Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
 
ferminbrif
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:04 pm

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:04 am

I hope ED FORCE ONE will be able to fly high:
Fly, on your way, like an eagle,
Fly as high as the sun,
On your way, like an eagle,
Fly and touch the sun.
 
328JET
Posts: 348
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:16 pm

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:51 am

That is really sad news!


A really interesting and different airline leaves the market. 


I hope that all employees will find new and good jobs very soon.
 
vv701
Posts: 5895
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:54 am

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:53 am

Quoting BA777 (Reply 30):
So will OJIB and STRY be impounded when they land?


Both aircraft were leased. 'IB is owned by AWAS. 'RY is owned by ILFC.

Expect their owners to go through the required procedures to claim back their property. Expect them also to put themselves on the administator's creditors' list for any unpaid leasing fees.
 
Type-Rated
Posts: 3901
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 1999 5:18 am

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:18 pm

What will Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden do? He was a pilot for Astraeus, but recently moved into a sales position when Astraeus decided that aircraft leasing was the business to be in.
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
 
GIANCAVIA
Posts: 906
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:45 am

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:34 pm

Read it on pprune yesterday.. sad stuff.

Where shall Iron Maiden

Quoting sergy2k (Reply 26):
What would the options be this year for airlines in the event of snow and stranded aircraft? I remember Astraeus coming to the rescue last year for a number of airlines. Who would they now go to?

Me thinks Titan shall be busy.
 
chieft
Posts: 326
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:35 pm

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:35 pm

Yesterday was a sad day; it is hard to see a working airline going into receivership. The reasons may be found in the past already - but that is not important anymore.

Great airline, great people. Take care guys!

[Edited 2011-11-22 09:36:25]
Aircraft are marginal costs with wings.
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:43 am

Quoting type-rated (Reply 42):
What will Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden do? He was a pilot for Astraeus, but recently moved into a sales position when Astraeus decided that aircraft leasing was the business to be in.

It sounds like he's going to either try to save the airline or perhaps start a new one using his fellow ex-Astraeus employees:

Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson Aims to Save Astraeus Airlines

Quote:
Not only does Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson refuse to go down as a disgruntled former employee of Astraeus Airlines, the Boeing 757 Captain is hatching a three-tier plan to salvage the financially strapped Icelandic business-owned company, which ordered all pilots and staff to cease operations on Nov. 21.

“Firstly, I’m already working on a plan to try to save Astraeus, or at least create a new business with new jobs for my friends and former colleagues at Astraeus,” said Dickinson in a press release. “This is a serious plan involving people who are very good at their jobs. I see the potential for a viable operation, should acquisition of the company prove achievable. There is no reason why the original business model, which established Astraeus as possibly the best and most successful organization in its sector, cannot be resurrected to the benefit of former employees and airline partners and clients alike.”
 
irshava
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:11 am

RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:27 am

Quoting srbmod (Reply 45):

I do hope that it can help save the airline and Andy's job.
“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”
 
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BasilFawlty
Posts: 920
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RE: Astraeus Ceases Ops

Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:13 am

A sad day for all Astraeus employees. Had the pleasure to work with some crews in 2008 when they operated a lot of flights for Sterling.

Also a sad day for the 757 in Europe, again a few less of them in operation here.

Quoting sergy2k (Reply 26):
What would the options be this year for airlines in the event of snow and stranded aircraft? I remember Astraeus coming to the rescue last year for a number of airlines. Who would they now go to?

Titan Airways, euroAtlantic, Mint Airways, Privilege Style as well as almost all other regular charter airlines in Europe, lots of options to choose from.  
'Every year donkeys and mules kill more people than plane crashes'

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