Pandemic consequences: Enter Air no longer wants to increase its stake in Chair

The Swiss holiday airline is currently expanding. But during the pandemic, Chair also had to take advantage of state aid. This has consequences for the relationship with major shareholder Enter Air.

After the pandemic, Chair Airlines switched to growth. The Swiss leisure airline replaced an Airbus A319 with a larger A320. But it won’t stop there. He will also replace another A319 with an A320 and will also purchase another A320. With a total of four jets, the fleet will then be larger than ever.

Chair had suffered greatly in the Corona crisis. The airline, like many others, had to claim state aid. A spokesman told aeroTELEGRAPH that “as part of the hardship program, like all other airlines, they were entitled” to claim state aid. That’s what they did. Among other things, it is about a loan of half a million Swiss francs. Nevertheless, thanks to “very lean structures and strict cost management”, the crisis was “survived relatively well” compared to the competition.

Loan to Chair now classified as long-term

However, the state aid has consequences for the Chair’s major shareholder Enter Air. The Polish charter airline holds 49.9 percent. She had granted the Swiss participation a loan of 3.5 million dollars when she joined in 2019. This should actually have been repaid at the end of June 2021.

But the rules on Swiss state aid explicitly prohibit the repayment of loans to group companies before the state loan has been repaid. Enter Air has therefore granted Chair an extension of the deadline and reclassified the loan, which bears 5 percent interest, as “long-term” in its balance sheet. “The exact repayment date is an internal agreement,” said the spokesman.

No search for a new investor

And something else has changed. Enter Air has the right to increase its stake in Chair from 49.9 percent to 80 percent. “We definitely want to exercise the call option,” said Commercial Manager Andrzej Kobielski to aeroTELEGRAPH in 2019. The Poles no longer want to do this, as stated in their annual report. There are no plans to “exercise this right” because the option “is only viewed as a protective right”. This has now been extended.

“Due to the pandemic situation and the exceptional circumstances of the past two years, it was mutually agreed to extend the option,” said the spokesman. Despite this, Chair is not looking for a new investor.