Cargo carrier Fine Air is blaming high fuel prices and South America's economic downturn over the past two years for its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Miami-based airline was forced to make the filing after failing to reach an out-of-court restructuring agreement with its bond holders. The filing also covers its subsidiary airline Arrow Air , which it purchased in April last year, but was forced to operate separately until the recent approval of the merger by the US Department of Transport. The airline says the delay added to its woes.

"We will continue to provide our services to Latin America and the Caribbean," says airline president and chief executive Barry Fine. "We are confident that with the help of the court and our creditors, we will find a solution which will benefit everyone," he adds. A request has been made for post-filing financing of $55 million from Bank of America, its principal lender. Fine Air and Arrow Air operate 22 cargo aircraft.

Source: Flight International