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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Business News

Avantair intends to 'restructure its affair'

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CLEARWATER - Avantair Inc., a Clearwater-based company that sells shares in its twin-engine turboprop aircraft to patrons who can schedule flights instead of flying on a commercial airline, told its fractional owners Friday it must "restructure its affairs in order to emerge healthy."

"We are in discussions with certain of our vendors, lenders and other third parties to obtain the working capital needed to restructure and fund operations going forward," President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Haslett says in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission document.

The filing said Avantair's business model assumed efficiencies that never materialized and issues drained working capital.

On Wednesday, Avantair said it had begun furloughing employees, which also had occurred last year, and faced legal action from certain of its fractional owners, according to SEC documents.

The company reported Wednesday that all 400 employees had been furloughed, although some were asked to remain voluntarily, Avantair spokesman Hugh Drummond of consultant O'Neill & Associates in Boston said Friday. Avantair has 56 aircraft, all of which are on the ground at various maintenance centers nationwide, and more than 150 pilots throughout the country.

The company's lease payments at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport are through a second party and are up to date, but it owes the airport $828 for badges.

Avantair's second-quarter results for the period that ended on Dec. 31 showed a loss of $1.9 million, or 6 cents a share, on $35.5 million in revenue.

Avantair shares closed at 2.8 cents Friday on Nasdaq , down from 3.5 cents Thursday.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7817

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