SkyEurope Airlines was a
low-cost airline headquartered in
Bratislava, with its main base at M. R. Štefánik Airport (BTS) in Bratislava, Slovakia, and another
base in Prague.
carrier filed for bankruptcy on 31 August 2009 and suspended all
flights on 1 September 2009.
With bases in Slovakia, Austria, and Czech Republic, it was the
first multi-based airline in Central Europe. The airline operated
short-haul scheduled and charter passenger services.
According to a survey by Skytrax
London between August 2007 and July 2008, SkyEurope was the best
low-cost airline in Eastern Europe and 3rd best low-cost airline in
On 22 June 2009, the airline announced it had been granted creditor
protection while it restructured its debts. However, this did not
protect the airline from announcing bankruptcy on 31 August 2009
and cancelling all flights immediately. Because of debt, it is
doubtful whether passengers will get any compensation.
SkyEurope was established in November 2001 and started operations
on 13 February 2002 (domestic flight Bratislava-Kosice operated
with 30 seat turboprop Embraer 120 ER Brasilia). It was founded by
Alain Skowronek (Chairman) and Christian Mandl (Chief Executive)
and financed by EBRD
Although some criticized the decision to base an airline in
Bratislava, Mandl saw the effect that the low cost carriers were
having in Western Europe and envisioned it going a step further
with a low-cost carrier in a low cost country. Mandl and Skowronek
were aware of the catchment area of Bratislava Airport with the airport being located within a one-hour
drive of Vienna, Brno and Győr and a
catchment area of
four countries: (Austria, Hungary, the
Republic and Slovakia).
On 27 September 2005, the airline went public on the Vienna and
Warsaw stock exchanges. The initial public offering
price was 6
, valuing the company at 120 million
.. The IPO on the Vienna and Warsaw stock
exchanges was the first by a central European low-cost carrier and
the first by any Slovak company.
In the following weeks,
share price decreased to 5 EUR/share. On 10 November 2005,
investment bank CA-IB, member of HVB Group, issued a buy
recommendation with target price 6.5 EUR. The bank assumed that
, a term
often used during the previous dot-com
, would "provide competitive edge".
In 2006, SkyEurope announced it would cut ticket prices to minus 10
koruna, claiming to become the first airline that pays people for
flying with it. The advertised negative price did not include fees
charged to the passenger.
2007 marked a year of growth and change for SkyEurope. The airline opened a
base at Vienna International Airport in March 2007, placing two new 737-700s operating
sixteen routes. In October 2007, SkyEurope closed its hubs in
Budapest, thus reallocating its aircraft to the hubs in Prague and
SkyEurope entered into a partnership with České dráhy creating the CD Sky
alliance whereby SkyEurope tickets would be sold for a fixed price
at railway stations in Brno and Prague.
In October - December 2008 SkyEurope transported 726,656
passengers, bringing the 12-month passenger total to 3.577 million.
Its major Central European competitor Wizz
claims to have carried 5.8 million passengers in 2008.
The company's last CEO was Nick Manoudakis. Members of the
Supervisory board were its Chairman Iordanis Karatzas (since 1
October 2006), Jeremy Blank (since 1 October 2006), Christophe
Aurand (since 1 October 2006, works as CEO of York UK
), Hans Källenius (re-elected 30 March 2007,
represents minority shareholders) and Josef In-Albon (since 30
The loss-making airline was seeking a new ownership structure with
additional capital. The airline owed €25 million as a bridge loan
to hedge fund York Global Finance
II, due on 15 July 2009.
On 8 January 2009, leasing company GECAS
ordered SkyEurope to return six Boeing
aircraft due to financial problems.
On 23 June 2009, SkyEurope went into administration having been
granted protection from its creditors by the district court in
Bratislava, the Slovak capital.
August 2009, SkyEurope was not allowed to fly into Vienna
International Airport due to unpaid landing fees. Flights were handled
SkyEurope filed opening of bankruptcy proceedings on 31 August
2009. All flights were suspended with immediate effect on 1
passengers being stranded, Irish airline
Ryanair announced on 1 September 2009, that
they launched rescue fares from Bratislava to Alicante, Barcelona (Girona), Brussels (Charleroi), Rome (Ciampino),
Liverpool and London
Flights were bookable until 20 September 2009
and certain flights till 17 December 2009. All flights were sold at
a price of €25, one way, taxes and charges included.
Malev Hungarian Airlines
also accepted people holding SkyEurope tickets on their flights for
a discounted price. Malev was offering one-way travel options to a
total of 12 cities for all those who held a SkyEurope air ticket
and were unable to board their flight because of the bankruptcy
proceedings launched against the company. The one-way air tickets
were priced from €49.
Wizz Air also announced rescue flights for
passengers stranded at Prague to Amsterdam, Bari, Bourgas, Brussels, Copenhagen, London (Luton),
Milan (Bergamo), Naples, Paris (Orly),
Rome (Fiumicino), Thessaloniki and Venice (Treviso)
and from Bratislava to Rome.
Flights were bookable until 15 September 2009 with certain flights
available till 26 March 2010 for a total fee of €30 one way.
Blue Air offered some rescue flights for
passengers stranded in Bucharest to Vienna.
extra fee was €60
The company never managed to make a profit. At the end of March
2009, it had negative equity
liabilities two times higher than assets. Shares fell from its
level of 6 euro per
share to a mere 20 cents per share at the end of January 2009. On
September 30, 2008, SkyEurope had overdue debt one million EUR on
of its employees.
The overdue debt gradually increased to €3.1 million at the end of
June 2009. At March 31, SkyEurope was in technical default on its
loan from Bank of Scotland
According to released Preliminary results for FY 2008
"material uncertainties exist regarding the ability of SkyEurope
Holding to continue as going concern
The company failed to publish audited results for financial year
2008 on 30 January 2009, management stated it expects the
statements will be published by 17 February 2009 at the latest. On
February 17, SkyEurope announced further postponement, its
management expects the audited results will be published by March
15. On March 15, SkyEurope announced a third postponement, its
management expects the audited results for FY 2008 will be
published by April 15.
In June 2009, in an effort to avoid bankruptcy, SkyEurope announced
a restructuring of the company and received bankruptcy protection
from the Slovak courts (valid in the whole European Union).
However, this failed and on 1 September 2009, the airline went into
Selected financial results of SkyEurope Holding
|Operating profit (EBIT)
|Net profit after tax
|Cash and equivalents
|Revenues per passenger (EUR)
|Load factor (RPK/ASK in %)
Monthly passenger traffic (thousands)
Before the IPO, the largest shareholders were East Capital funds
(16.72), EBRD (16.03), Christian Mandl (8.53), Peter Struhár
(8.31), Alain Skowronek (8.19), DWS funds (7.79), GLG funds (7.17),
Griffin funds (7.04), Euroventures Danube (6.68) and Foundation
(6.39). Other investors held the remaining 7.15 share.
SkyEurope operated 44 routes to 30 destinations in 17 countries. On
29 January 2009, MFD
the airline cancelled hundreds of already booked flights from
The SkyEurope fleet consisted of the following aircraft (at 1
In 2005 SkyEurope and Boeing
order for four Boeing Next-Generation 737-700s
worth US$220 million.
The order includes purchase rights for up to 16 additional
airplanes. This order followedSkyEurope's order with leasing
for 12 Boeing Next-Generation
In April 2007, SkyEurope purchased an additional five jets.
SkyEurope has an option to order six more jets at the price set in
a 2005 deal with Boeing to buy as many as 32 planes by 2011.
At the end of FY 2008, SkyEurope had agreements with GECAS and
for the operating
of twelve Boeing 737 aircraft. At 30 September 2008, the
Company failed to comply with stipulated financial covenants, such
as liquidity and net worth
a result, an event of default would allow lessors to terminate the
leases with immediate effect and either claim damages
and/or require immediate redelivery of the
aircraft. On 24 November 2008, SkyEurope received a default notice
from GECAS, as a result of late lease payments. On 9 January 2009,
GECAS terminated the lease of six aircraft and ordered SkyEurope to
immediately return the 737s. On that day, several SkyEurope flights
were delayed up to seven hours. Three additional aircraft were
returned to the lessor on January 5, 2009.
The airline operated four Boeing 737-700s
Boeing 737-500 aircraft (on
dry-lease from FlyLal Charters), two ex-United Boeing 737-300 and
two Air Slovakia Boeing 737-300 (both on dry-lease). SkyEurope also
used other airlines for its flights, mainly Air Slovakia
, and Travel Service
SkyEurope had a buy on board
SkyEurope Delights; in the programme food was sold for