Fort Lauderdale-based regional carrier Silver Airways has signed an agreement to purchase Puerto Rico carrier Seaborne Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy protection on 8 January.

"As Seaborne filed for reorganisation under Chapter 11, Silver Airways entered into an agreement to acquire Seaborne," Silver chief executive Steve Rossum says in a statement to FlightGlobal.

"This will allow us to fully capture the benefits of Seaborne’s business and its people, including the synergies of our Saab fleets, Seaborne’s route network and our respective airline partners, and will allow us to continuing growing,” Rossum says.

”Silver Airways, with the support of our owner Versa Capital, has been committed to a growth strategy of building a dominant network in the Southeast US, the Bahamas and the Caribbean," he adds.

Private equity company Versa Capital Management owns Silver and is majority owner of Seaborne, Silver said in August 2017.

Seaborne "commenced a voluntary reorganisation proceeding… in order to implement new financing and a sale to affiliates of Silver Airways," Seaborne says on its website. "The company will continue its business without interruption, including all existing flight operations in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean," Seaborne says.

Seaborne also secured a $4.2 million loan and "concurrently entered into a purchase agreement… to sell substantially all of its business and assets to Silver Airways," it adds. "This will facilitate a combination between Seaborne and Silver Airways, creating the industry’s leading regional carrier in the Caribbean, Florida and the Bahamas."

The acquisition remains subject to court approval and other bids, Seaborne says.

Seaborne parent, Delaware-based Sea Star Holdings, filed Seaborne's bankruptcy paperwork in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Both Silver and Seaborne operate fleets of Saab 340Bs. Silver primarily flies routes within Florida and from Florida to the Bahamas, and Seaborne primarily operates from San Juan.

The acquisition news follows an August announcement from Silver saying it was negotiating "commercial cooperation including potentially a combination" with Seaborne.

At that time Silver also announced it signed a commitment to purchase 20 46-seat ATR 42-600s, with options to convert to the larger 70-seat ATR 72-600.

Source: Cirium Dashboard