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ACG in Search for a Rescuer

Last Friday, Air Cargo Germany declared insolvency. 300 jobs are at stake if plans to restructure the company and become operational again should fail.

It surely was an ambitious project back in 2008 to establish a second cargo carrier in Germany as a serious competitor to the mighty Lufthansa Cargo. This plan has obviously gone to ashes after Air Cargo Germany went to the local court of Bad Kreuznach in Rhineland-Palatinate Friday last week (3rd May) to declare insolvency. Affected are 300 employees that now have fears of losing their jobs.

But also hard hit is Hahn airport in Rhineland-Palatinate state, insolvent ACG’s home base, since the carrier contributed about twenty percent of the total tonnage loaded or unloaded at the airport. So no wonder that a kind of ‘doomsday mood’ is currently spreading around the region because Hahn’s air freight throughput is decreasing constantly. ACG’s bankruptcy is the second blow for the airport within months, after Etihad Cargo decided to relocate its freighter operations from Hahn to Rhine-Main, using Frankfurt as their central European gateway instead.

Now, the crucial question is whether there are still realistic perspectives for a revival of ailing ACG. This is at least believed by the airline's CEO, Michael Schaecher, who stated right after declaring the illiquidity of his airline: "Through the insolvency proceeding both management and shareholders envision to create an opportunity to restructure the company and restore operational activities. All options will be taken into account to restore customer confidence."

In contrast to these wishes, a realistic view of the situation reveals however, that there seems to be little hope for ACG to get off the ground again.
Firstly, stakeholder Volga-Dnepr Group (49%) is not allowed to mobilize additional resources to fill their German partner’s empty cash box because legal foreign ownership cannot surpass 49 percent of the equity capital. So this rescue option is excluded by law.

Authors: HEINER SIEGMUND, Hamburg / JOHN McDONALD, Frankfurt

(Cargo Forwarder vom 06.05.2013)