carrier VASP faces an uncertain future after being expelled from a national
scheme providing favourable payback rates for outstanding debts and could now
see its aircraft seized by the Government.
move had appeared increasing likely after Brazil’s National Social Security
Institute (INSS) last month called for the airline’s exclusion from the REFIS
scheme, when the airline continued to default on payments.
the scheme, a $250 million tax and social security debt was split into 100
monthly payments of $2.5 million. However VASP's failure to pay punctually the
full amount created a legal obligation to withdraw the payment deferral
benefits and to execute legal procedures for an immediate payment of the
associate director Valdir Moyses Simao, says that on 23 February VASP was
excluded from receiving the benefits and as soon as the ruling has been
published in Brazil's official state bulletin, the legal procedure to seize the
aircraft offered as collateral will be initiated. VASP had used its aircraft as
guarantees against the debt.
VASP executive was immediately available for a comment, but a local industry
observer suggests that the airline’s position is now critical, commenting.
"VASP's bankruptcy may be imminent now. Probably the whole fleet they own
is not worth all that money, so if a court decides to ground it, I don't see
how VASP could survive that. But VASP's president Canhedo is a survival
specialist and perhaps he is still planning a surprise move to save the
the REFIS ruling VASP announced it was cutting most of its fares during March
by around 50% - a move interpreted by market observers as a desperate action to
generate cash flow during the low season.
year ago VASP only narrowly avoided being grounded after reaching an eleventh
hour agreement with Brazilian airport authority Infraero over its failure to
pay landing charges.