Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:50 PM
The Chennault International Airport Authority board on Wednesday deferred any action against Aeroframe Services for overdue rent and utilities.
The board entered into executive session during the regular meeting Wednesday to discuss the possibility of litigation.
“We have up to three years to pursue any legal action against them,” board President Larry Avery said after the meeting. “At this time we feel it is more important that the employees get their money and that we have a seamless transition over to AAR.”
Roger Porter, former CEO and president of Aeroframe, was at the meeting and talked to media representatives after the executive session. He read a prepared statement to members of the press.
“Since the inception of Aeroframe, 15 airlines have gone bankrupt and most of my competitors in the MRO business have either gone through a bankruptcy or been liquidated or changed ownership,” Porter said.
He said the lack of funds stems from a “last-minute conflict” with Aeroframe’s “largest customer, who has ultimately refused to pay several outstanding invoices,” causing Aeroframe to shut down. Porter did not disclose the name of the customer.
“It is our goal to satisfy all Aeroframe outstanding balances,” he said. “My commitment is first and foremost to the employees who have worked so hard to offer a competitive option to our customers.”
After reading the statement he took questions from the media. When asked when former employees would receive their paychecks, Porter replied, “As soon as funds are available.”
“That’s all I can promise you,” he said. “I’m working day and night to try to do that. It’s a slow process.”
When asked if the company was on the path toward bankruptcy, Porter said he was “trying to avoid that.”
“Honestly, it might be the easiest thing for me, but I don’t think that’s the right thing if I can avoid it any cost,” Porter said.
Last week, Aeroframe’s lease with Chennault International Airport was terminated and turned over to Illinois-based AAR Corp., which will reportedly create 500 jobs.
When asked if he would work at AAR, Porter said he’s “not sure if that’s going to be an option or not.”
“They’re certainly an excellent company,” he said. “I would certainly consider it.”
As of Wednesday, former Aeroframe employees have yet to be compensated for their work after being notified last Friday that Aeroframe was ceasing operations. Employees have said they are owed up to two weeks’ pay by the company.