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Jilted investors seek to force troubled airline OneJet into bankruptcy

Natasha Lindstrom
| Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, 6:56 p.m.
ONEJET
ONEJET

Three jilted Western Pennsylvania-based investors are seeking to force embattled airline OneJet to liquidate all its assets and repay them $4.8 million, court records show.

Attorney Kirk Burkley on Wednesday filed an involuntary petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy against OneJet in federal court in Pittsburgh on behalf of three clients who loaned the airline carrier money: Vesper Capital LLC of Moon Township; Keith Kronk of Kronk Inc. in Pittsburgh; and James and Debbie Campbell of Fox Chapel.

A OneJet spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Burkley said his clients are “very concerned” about failed attempts to recoup their money directly from OneJet and what they describe as a failure by the carrier to honor its commitments. The Downtown Pittsburgh-based attorney of Bernstein-Burkley law firm said he expects the list of investors seeking to be repaid debts to grow.

“We believe that within the past year or so, there has been $58 million raised (by OneJet),” Burkley told the Trib on Thursday. “We just want to find out what happened, and where all the assets went.”

OneJet suspended all flight services in late August and has yet to reopen ticket sales as planned on Oct. 1.

It’s unclear when, or if, service will resume.

Vesper Capital says it is owed $4.5 million and Kronk and the Campbells report being owed $150,000 each, court records show. The loans cited in the filing varied in their maturity dates and interest requirements. At least one investor was promised access to company jets in exchange for a loan but not provided the perk, Burkley said.

Pittsburgh International Airport spokesman Bob Kerlik declined to comment on the involuntary bankruptcy filing.

The carrier announced Aug. 29 it was suspending all flights for eight weeks during an “operational transition” but planned to reopen ticket sales Oct. 1. OneJet said it sought to obtain from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration a “fully owned 135 operating certificate,” which typically covers aircraft that have fewer than 10 seats.

As of Thursday, the announcement was still posted to the carrier’s website , but when customers go to book a flight, the site says no flights are available to any destination.

Separately, the Allegheny County Airport Authority is suing OneJet seeking to reclaim $763,000 . In 2016, the authority granted a $1 million incentive to OneJet in exchange for 10 new routes and for the airline to base its operations in Pittsburgh. At the time, it was the largest incentive the authority had ever given an airline.

The airline launched nine routes but by August was down to only two before it suspended service completely.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, nlindstrom@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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