Although the interest for VLM as a company was considerable, the liquidator did not find any buyer for the bankrupt airline, but he could eventually sell its aircraft, according to Belgian financial newspaper De Tijd. Hence, the story of VLM in Antwerp has definitively come to an end.
In the summer of 2016, VLM came into the hands of SHS Aviation, a company owned by unknown Chinese people with no experience in aviation. After two years of chaos and mismanagement, VLM (officially: SHS Antwerp Aviation, a subsidiary of SHS Aviation incorporated in The Netherlands) got into liquidation at the end of August.
No solution has yet been found for VLM’s only profitable route between Antwerp and London City Airport, despite talks between Antwerp airport CEO Marcel Buelens and several candidates.
Liquidator Youri Steverlynck (from Monard Law) initially thought that British companies would be happy to place a bid on the airline for its Belgian AOC that would be valuable after the Brexit. Several candidates came forward who wanted to completely take over VLM. But none of them could not fulfil their financial promises.
Because the VLM AOC licence expires today, the liquidator decided to get at least some money by selling the three remaining Fokker 50 aircraft to the Swedish aviation company Amapola, which had already bought three other F50s of VLM this summer. On Tuesday, the last Fokker from VLM (registered OO-VLS), named after founder Freddy Van Gaever, leaves Antwerp Airport.
The Antwerp Airport Board was able to recover half of the 500,000 euros of outstanding debts from VLM through a settlement. The proceeds from the sale go to the personnel and Social Security.
The claim of former CEO Harm Prins for the aeroplanes and shares of VLM had earlier been swept aside by the court.