Eos crash-lands after failing to do the business

Another business-class airline has fallen to earth with a bump - now US company Eos has filed for bankruptcy...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

US airline Eos, which launched three years ago to ferry business-class passengers between London Stansted and New York on a fleet of 'well-travelled' 48-seater 757s, has become the latest to fall victim to the slowdown in business flying and the rocketing oil price (which hit $120 today). It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, after failing to persuade its backers to stump up another $50m to fill up its bank account and keep its planes in the air.

In a statement on its website, Eos told customers that its 6.30 flight to New York last night would be its final one before winding up operations. ‘The relationship we have is very special,’ it gushed. ‘The sense of camaraderie and level of engagement we've developed together transcends the traditional airline space’. Which is all very well, but a sense of camaraderie isn’t going to get its ‘valued guests’ to JFK.

Eos also claimed that it had actually managed to agree the terms of a new loan, but mysteriously suggested that ‘some issues arose that prevented the parties from moving forward’. Perhaps the planes were out of fuel and they couldn’t afford to buy any more? After all, households are classed as suffering from ‘fuel poverty’ if they’re spending 20% of their income on keeping warm – and according to some estimates, airlines are currently forking out around 25% of their costs on fuel...

The demise of Eos – following the collapse of fellow business-class specialist Maxjet in December last year – leaves Silverjet as the sole business-class-only airline operating between London and New York. And the carrier has been quick to take advantage today, offering disappointed Eos customers the chance to re-book on available Silverjet flights.

Another beneficiary of the Eos downfall could be Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, whose own business-class revenues have also been suffering slightly in the current climate (although overall passenger numbers are flourishing, Virgin UK boss Gordon McCallum told us last week). The carrier latched onto the opportunity to give its Johnny-come-lately rivals a kicking, suggesting that travellers would ‘now find it too risky to book with business-only airlines as, if they collapse, they do so with little notice, leaving their passengers stranded and possibly out of pocket’.

Time will tell whether Silverjet can succeed where its rivals have failed.  But some of our well-heeled executive traveller chums rave about the Silverjet service from Luton airport – although admittedly they’re distinctly less complimentary about having to fight their way through the M1 car park back to London afterwards...

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