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Ryan International Airlines Goes From Reorganization To Liquidation
By Bill Goldston

January 14, 2013 - On Friday Ryan International Airlines' CEO, Jeff Potter announced that the airline has changed its bankruptcy status from reorganization to liquidation.

In a letter to its employees, Potter stated the company was would no long provide services and that all employees are terminated effective Friday, January 11. However, Porter indicated in his letter that the company is in discussions with a potential partner. 

Ryan International Airlines, Inc. was a FAR 121 airline with domestic, flag, and supplemental authority based out of Rockford, Illinois. The airline was wholly owned by Ronald Ryan until 2005, when it was purchased by commercial real-estate firm Rubloff Development Group. 


On March 6, 2012, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing "unexpected and dramatic reductions in military flying. The US Postal Service was once the airline's main customer, flying Boeing 727 aircraft on scheduled cargo flights. Prior to its demise, Ryan International flew non-scheduled charter passenger services for excursion and tour packagers, along with the United States Department of Defense, the United States Department of Justice, and others. 

The Department of Defense was a big customer of the company but with recent cuts its sales fell 70 percent from last year. In addition Ryan International Airlines had leased out one of its jets to AtlasJet who has not paid on its leasing agreement. 

On April 1, 2012, Ryan lost its bid to continue flying for the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The loss of the DHS contract resulted in the immediate grounding of four MD-80 aircraft to cut costs. Pilot leaders at the carrier represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l., (ALPA) will work aggressively to find new jobs for Ryan’s 209 pilots after the airline abruptly announced it is going out of business.



Capt. Erik Sparks, Chair of ALPA’s Ryan Master Executive Council, said the union had been cooperating with management and creditors until the end to save the airline, which laid off hundreds of employees and slashed its aircraft fleet in recent months after losing a series of charter contracts it held with the US government. At the time of the shutdown, the airline had only three aircraft and 51 active pilots, with two-thirds of the pilot group already furloughed. 

“… announcement is the culmination of a series of bad management decisions made over the past two years. But our pilots can hold their heads high knowing that we always flew with safety and professionalism, and did everything possible to preserve our jobs,” Sparks said.  

“Our airline may be gone, but our union endures. We will work even harder to ensure that Ryan pilots can keep flying, hopefully for other ALPA carriers.” Through ALPA’s Furloughed Pilots Support Program (FPSP), the Ryan pilots will continue to receive assistance from ALPA, including admission to job fairs, employment opportunities, and unemployment benefit information. “Our members at Ryan should know that their national union is here to support them,” said ALPA President Capt. Lee Moak. “We will spare no effort to protect their employment rights and continue the advancement of their aviation careers.”

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