Business airline Eos files for bankruptcy

LONDON - Eos Airlines, the US business class only airline flying between London and New York, has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the third such carrier to halt operations since December.

Eos, which began flying between London Stansted and New York JFK airports in October 2005, ceased operations yesterday.

The loss-making carrier failed in last-ditch attempts to raise $50m from one of its existing investors, and said it was axing most of its 450-strong workforce.

It is the second of the new breed of all-business class carriers to fail following the collapse of Maxjet Airways, another US start-up, at the end of December.

Earlier this month, Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, the start-up Asian carrier, halted its operations between Hong Kong and London and Vancouver, as it fell into bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, according to the Financial Times, Silverjet is in negotiations with potential investors in the search for a rescue takeover deal as it also struggles with continuing losses and rising costs. L'Avion, which flies from Paris to New York, is also reported by The Times to be struggling.

Following the news of Eos' demise, New York-London carrier Silverjet immediately offered Eos passengers seats on its transatlantic flights at the same price they had paid Eos.

The company's global media planning and buying account is handled by WPP's MediaCom, while creative duties are handled by Interpublic's US ad agency Mullen.

Mullen created a campaign for the carrier under the strapline 'Uncrowded, uncompromising'.

The pure business class airlines were launched to take advantage of a boom in business-class travel between Europe and the US.

They had hoped to take on the established carriers such as British Airways and Virgin by offering services tailored to the needs of their passengers.

But sustained high oil prices have increased operating costs while the worsening economic environment has reduced demand for premium air travel. The new carriers have also struggled to compete with better-capitalised rivals.

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