Air Alps to be liquidated as investor negotiations fail

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Defunct Austrian regional carrier Air Alps will not be restarted, as previously planned, after takeover talks with two separate potential investors fell through.

Innsbruck-based charter operator Welcome Air, which owns 76% of Air Alps, says the regional airline's assets will now be sold to fulfil all creditor interests.

Neither Welcome Air nor Tyrol Air Ambulance - its corporate sister within holding company Remi Finanz- und Verwaltungs - will be affected by the liquidation process, it adds.

About half of Air Alps' 18 Austrian-based employees are to the taken over by Welcome Air and Tyrol Air Ambulance. The rest will be made redundant, meeting the same fate as the 50 staff members in Italy, who, since 2009, had been paid through a state benefits scheme.

Unable to continue its last remaining scheduled services between Bozen and Rome, Air Alps ceased operations in November 2012.

Earlier this year, the carrier was negotiating with two investors - the Russian European Finance & Consulting Agency (REFCA) and an unnamed bidder from western Europe - about a possible takeover.

Günther Gast, an Innsbruck-based lawyer who acted as Air Alps' chief executive, told Flightglobal Pro in March that negotiations with REFCA were more promising than for the competing offer but a sale was unlikely to happen before June.

REFCA was preparing to gain a Russian air operator's certificate for Air Alps as part of the takeover plans.

Air Alps has three Fairchild Dornier 328 turboprops.