Swiss regional carrier Darwin Airline has been forced to concede bankruptcy after a period of serious financial problems. Its plight will cause further headaches for the airport of Lugano in southern Switzerland, where it is based.
A fortnight after seeing its fleet grounded by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation, the company informed its 250 staff on Tuesday that bankruptcy was imminent.
It is the outcome of several months of speculation and efforts to turn around the fortunes of the small airline, which was attached in July to Adria Airways, themselves belonging to Luxembourg fund 4K Invest.
However, the decline of Alitalia earlier this year, as well as the more recent dissolution of Air Berlin, had negative knock-on effects on Darwin, notably by increasing competition in a crowded market and discouraging further investment.
Staff have not been paid since October, according to trade union OCST.
Darwin Airline served passengers travelling south to Rome and west to Geneva. The airport is currently looking into alternative options to maintain this latter route.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/dos