Deadline nears for administrators to sell bankrupt Sterling

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Administrators for the collapsed Danish budget carrier Sterling Airlines are optimistic of selling the company but a deadline for formal expressions of interest expires today.

Sterling ceased operations on 29 October after its Icelandic parent firm stated that it was unable to continue providing financial support to the Copenhagen-based carrier.

Under Danish law the company must be sold in its entirety within two weeks else it must be broken up and its assets sold separately.

"Our strategy now is to sell the company as a whole," says a source at Danish law firm Kromann Reumert which, along with two other firms, is overseeing the administration of the airline.

The deadline for formal submissions of interest expires at midnight and the law firm is "optimistic" of reaching a deal, although it is unable identify the number, or nature, of parties involved.

There is "quite a lot" of interest, the source says, but adds: "That's not the same as buying."

The carrier, owned by Iceland's Northern Travel Holding, had been operating a fleet of around 25 Boeing 737 aircraft before it filed for bankruptcy. Sterling's handling company, a division of the UK's Menzies Aviation, was also forced out of business by the collapse.

Sterling's personnel have all been laid off but are being paid under an insurance arrangement and retained in case the administrators are successful in selling the airline.

Scandinavian budget airline Norwegian has already disclosed that it plans to establish a base at Copenhagen to fill the void left by the Danish airline.