SWEDISH-BASED charter airline Air Operations of Europe will cease operations by May. All 170 employees, mainly those at the airline's headquarters in Sollentuna, outside Stockholm, will lose their jobs.

The airline, better known as Air Ops, was started by pilot/businessman Thomas Johansson on behalf of Dutch bank ING. Johansson, who also helped to launch the ill-fated Time Air Sweden and struggling Transwede (now owned by Transpool), had relinquished his position as managing director in 1995, but carried on flying as an Air Ops TriStar pilot.

Air Ops has had a brief and precarious existence since it started in 1993, after the ING Bank assumed ownership of several Lockheed TriStars following company bankruptcy. It has been in financial difficulties ever since and several attempts by the bank to sell the airline have failed, hastening the decision to close it down.

Source: Flight International