Judge gives bank right to repossess Great Plains' jets

Wednesday, March 3rd 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A federal bankruptcy judge gave Union Planters Bank the right Wednesday to take possession of the two remaining jets in Great Plains Airlines fleet.

The Fairchild Dornier 328s and their Pratt & Whitney engines are collateral for a $19.6 million loan the Memphis, Tenn.-based bank has with the bankrupt Tulsa airline.

Great Plains valued the jets at $10 million in court documents Monday. Previously, the airline had said they were worth $21.5 million.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dana Rasure issued the order Wednesday in reply to Union Planters' Feb. 13 request. Great Plains objected because it plans to charge the bank for the cost of insuring the jets since its Jan. 23 Chapter 11 filing.

Neither Great Plains, its attorneys nor attorneys for Union Planters immediately returned phone calls seeking comment.

Rasure ordered Great Plains on Feb. 17 to return its three Fairchild Dornier propjets to the leasing agent because the airline owed $384,691 in back lease payments.

Great Plains canceled scheduled service immediately upon filing for bankruptcy court protection in Jan. Charter service was canceled after the propjets were returned.

The airline, which never turned a profit in nearly three years of operation, claimed debts of $35.8 million and assets of $12.2 million.

It was launched in April 2001 with $27 million in state tax credits and loans backed by the city of Tulsa to provide direct flights from Oklahoma City and Tulsa to business centers on the coasts.