The charter airline AlbaStar has turned to the Strategic Companies Solvency Support Fund managed by the State Society for Industrial Participations (Sepi) in order to save the Covid-19 coup . Following in the footsteps of Plus Ultra, the company would have requested 25 million euros through a participative loan and another ordinary one.
AlbaStar is based in Palma de Mallorca, but most of its capital is in the hands of shareholders of Italian origin, businessmen from the tourism sector who, after the 2008 crisis, chose to enter the Spanish market, filling the gap left by bankrupt companies. like Spanair .
The Covid-19 crisis impacted like a jug of cold water on the airline’s balance sheet after keeping its planes on the ground for much of the year. Specifically, according to Aena data , AlbaStar moved a total of 158,000 passengers from or to Spanish airports during 2019.
This figure was reduced to just 3,000 passengers during 2020. If the number of operations is taken into account, the company went from 1,323 in 2019 to only 65 during the worst year of the impact of the virus.
These figures forced the airline to reinforce its balance sheet through the application and subsequent granting of a bank loan endorsed by the ICO , financial sources confirm, after pulling the treasury for months. But it was not enough and given the spread of the pandemic during 2021, AlbaStar decided to resort to the Sepi fund to save itself by requesting the rescue of 25 million that is now under study.
According to the information from the Mercantile Registry consulted by this newspaper, the company complies with the economic parameters required by Sepi to grant the aid, because until the outbreak of the virus that has paralyzed the tourism sector, it had closed almost all of the financial years positively and the debt was contained.
In the events after the closing of the accounts for the 2019 financial year, the latest available, AlbaStaracknowledges that as a consequence of the closures derived from the pandemic, the company decided to reduce fixed costs, which included operating leases, that is, aircraft, and taking advantage of the Erte programs that were launched both in Spain as in Italy, countries where it has workers.
In addition, it renegotiated commercial agreements with clients in order to extend its application until, at least, the following financial year. In this context, the company headed by Daniela Rosalía Caruso, Michael David Hugo Harrington and Antonio Corrado Spadaccini decided to reformulate these accounts in May 2020 to modify the proposed application of results, transferring the 3.37 million euros of profit that had obtained.
AlbaStar’s capital is mainly held by Italian companies. Specifically, it is owned by Kenobi Club Tour Operator SRL (27%), Italy Aviation Service (25%), Antonio Corrado Spadaccini (11%), the Italian company Femar and the businessman Nasreddin Ibrahim (21.5%), as as recorded in the Mercantile Registry.
The latter, who is also a director of the company, would be linked, according to available information, with Nasair, an airline with the flag of Eritrea that belongs to the Nasair Holding FZE group, based in the Arab Emirates and that appears in the registration documentation as “company linked “. An air transport group of the same name and led by Nasreaddin Ibrahim Johar , Nasair Group, appeared in the 2013 offshore leaks.
Nasreddin Ibrahim was dismissed as a director of AlbaStar in August 2020, but he was reinstated in the position, according to Borme data, on May 12.
One of the maxims required to comply with the rescue fund endowed with 10,000 million that Sepi manages is that the companies that are beneficiaries of this financing must be considered strategic for the economy of Spain. The latest controversial awards have led to this point being scrutinized with each new application.
One of the most controversial, which is even being investigated by the Justice, was that of Plus Ultra , an airline whose figures jeopardized the strategic consideration when approving its rescue. Then, María Jesús Montero, Minister of Finance and Government spokesperson, publicly justified this aid saying that it met the economic requirements and that it was considered strategic when operating in a sector such as tourism, which it is for Spain.
In the case of AlbaStar, in addition to the traffic and operations figures that account for less than 1% of the national total, its fleet is made up of six aircraft, five Boeing 737-800 and one Boeing 737-400, all of them on a rental basis. . The airline, according to its own website, had at the end of February, the latest data available, with 203 employees, the majority today in Erte.