A Nevada-based company is seeking to relaunch operations of defunct Ryan International Airlines, to be rebranded as American West Jets.

American West Jets (AWJ) was awarded the ownership of Ryan International in a Nevada bankruptcy hearing on 11 February. AWJ is now seeking the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to review an order it issued before the hearing, revoking Ryan's certificate authority to operate flights.

The rebranded carrier plans to operate point-to-point flights from Las Vegas to San Bernardino in California and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, according to a presentation filed by AWJ with the DOT. It will fly thrice weekly on each route and will operate "chronologically older" Boeing 747-400s and Lockheed L-1011 TriStars, the presentation shows.

The L-1011s will be configured with 250 seats and the 747s with up to 460 seats, says the presentation.

The aircraft will be operated at a "very low cycle", states AWJ. This will allow the company to "retain earnings fast enough to be able to replace these airplanes in two-three years with next-generation Boeing widebody 777s," it adds.

Drex Hansen, listed as chief executive of AWJ on the DOT filing, was not immediately available to comment. Attempts to reach Hansen by Flightglobal led to a telephone number that was out of service.

Ryan International ceased operations in January 2013 after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Based in Rockford (Illinois), it had previously operated cargo and chartered passenger flights.

The airline was subsequently purchased by AJet Holdings in February 2013. But in October 2013, one of AJet's creditors initiated an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding against AJet. AJet failed to respond to the bankruptcy case, and a trustee was then appointed for AJet's assets.

In January, the trustee said it had negotiated an agreement with People Express Airlines for the carrier to buy Ryan International's stock, according to filings. By that time, Ryan InternationaI's certificate authority to operate flights was in danger of being revoked as the airline had been dormant.

AJet's trustee requested for the DOT to extend the revocation for dormancy provision for six months to allow it to secure bankruptcy court approval and to finalise the sale to People Express.

However, this was denied by the DOT in an order issued on 11 February. The agency revoked Ryan International's certificate authority, putting an end to the sale of the airline to People Express.

AWJ says it was awarded the ownership of Ryan International in a bankruptcy court hearing that very day, which took place less than an hour after the DOT order was issued.

In its petition seeking for a review of the DOT order, AWJ says Hansen was told by a DOT official on 15 January that the agency would wait for the nomination of a bidder for Ryan International by the Nevada bankruptcy court.

"The failure by the DOT to take into account this short-term pending action makes the finding of fact erroneous," says AWJ in its petition.

Source: Cirium Dashboard