Southern Air exits bankruptcy with better finances, new HQ

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Southern Air Holdings emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 15 April with stronger finances, more-efficient aircraft and a new headquarters near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International airport, the freight carrier says.

"We have emerged from this restructuring process with substantially less debt, significantly improved operations and resources, and financial flexibility as a well-capitalised global air cargo carrier," says Daniel McHugh, chief executive of Southern Air, a subsidiary of Southern Air Holdings, in a media release.

"We are well-positioned both financially and operationally to continue to build Southern Air for the long-term benefit of our customers, suppliers, business partners, crew members and employees," McHugh says.

The company was based in Norwalk, Connecticut, but moved its headquarters to Florence, Kentucky, near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport, in mid-March, it says.

Southern Air filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2012 with the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The court approved Southern Air's reorganisation plan in mid-March, paving the way for the company's emergence.

Southern Air used the reorganisation to reduce its debt, slash legacy costs, strengthen its balance sheet and enhance its competitiveness, McHugh had said.

As part of the plan, the company transitioned to a more-efficient fleet of cargo aircraft. Southern Air now has four Boeing 747-400 freighters and four Boeing 777-200s freighters, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database. 

The restructuring was precipitated by the global economic downturn, which resulted in five consecutive years of zero growth in demand for air cargo, the company said in 2012.

Southern Air was founded in Norwalk in 1999, but many of its assets were part of Southern Air Transport, which was based in Columbus, Ohio, and formed in 1947.

During its history, the carrier has operated Lockheed L-100s, Boeing 707s, 727s, 747s and Douglas DC8-70 freighters, according to the most recent information available in Ascend.

Note: Fleet numbers were updated