UK's Astraeus ceases operations

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UK wet-lease operator Astraeus Airlines has ceased operations with immediate effect, with administrators set to be appointed to the company.

The carrier said it had suffered a "lack of contracts" for the winter 2011-12 season, following "lower-than-expected levels of business" during the summer.

Astraeus chief Hugh Parry added that the airline had "some extremely bad luck with a number of technical issues".

Parry said the board had been left with "no option" but to cease operations and put the company into administration.

"Every effort has been made to ensure that any passengers affected already have or will be able to complete their journey," he added.

"It is small comfort to those affected and impacted, I realise, but Astraeus comprised a fantastic team who did a fantastic job - quite possibly the best team in their aviation business sector."

Astraeus is wholly-owned by Icelandic firm Eignarhaldsfelagid Fengur. The carrier, established in 2002, had operated a range of aircraft including Boeing 757-200s, 737s and Airbus A320s.