Ryan International Airlines
|Ceased operations||January 11, 2013|
|Operating bases||Chicago Rockford International Airport
Orlando Sanford International Airport
|Destinations||Domestic and International|
|Company slogan||I Fly Ryan|
|Parent company||AJET Holdings LLC|
|Headquarters||Rockford, Illinois, United States|
Based at the Chicago Rockford International Airport in Rockford, Illinois, the US Postal Service was once the airline's main customer, utilizing Boeing 727 aircraft operated by Ryan International on scheduled mail delivery flights. Ryan also flew non-scheduled charter passenger services for excursion and tour packagers, along with the United States Department of Defense, the United States Department of Justice, and others.
In 1998, the airline began operating flights from California to Hawaii and Mexico, using a pair of McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft and several Airbus A320s on behalf of SunTrips, a vacation package operator in California. The aircraft were operated with Skyservice USA titles and wore the livery of Airtours International Airways, SunTrips' parent company. In 2000, the Skyservice USA titles were replaced with SunTrips titles on the aircraft. Later, Ryan would operate SunTrips flights using Boeing 757 aircraft in Ryan's own livery.
The airline was wholly owned by Ronald Ryan until 2005, when it was purchased by commercial real-estate firm Rubloff Development Group. Ryan operated scheduled passenger flights with Airbus A320 jets for AirTran Airways between Atlanta and the US west coast in 2003 and 2004, after which AirTran began operating the flights themselves with newly delivered Boeing 737-700 aircraft.
Since moving to Rubloff's headquarters in Rockford in 2006, Ryan held a notable number of contracts working mainly for the Department of Defense and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Until summer 2008, it maintained large operations in Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Boston for Funjet and Apple Vacations. These contracts were terminated following the failure of European carrier Futura International Airways, from which Ryan leased several aircraft to support this operation.
In February 2012, Ryan furloughed Pilots, Flight Attendants and support staff. On March 6, 2012, Ryan filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing "unexpected and dramatic reductions in military flying." On April 1, 2012, Ryan lost its bid to continue flying for the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The loss of the DHS contract resulted in the immediate grounding of four McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft to cut costs. On August 1, 2012, Ryan returned its A330-300 to Virgin Atlantic, ending its lease and accepting an older model Airbus A330-200 formerly operated by Atlasjet. Six days later, Jeff Potter, former CEO of Frontier Airlines was hired as the "Chief Restructuring Officer" for Ryan. He is also the President and CEO of aviation consulting firm Boyd Group International. Ryan's President/COO Mike McCabe had left Ryan in May due to cancer surgery. On August 15, 2012, Ryan announced it would be furloughing approximately 30 pilots and 60 flight attendants throughout the coming weeks. Two days later, the majority of flight attendants voted "Yes" to the AFA Contract agreement. At the end of that month, 25 or more management and administrative positions were eliminated. Those positions received same-day notice as the company attempted to further cut costs. Ryan again announced it would be furloughing more pilots and approximately 18 more flight attendants.
On January 11, 2013, Ryan International Airlines' CEO announced that the airline had gone into liquidation. Its staff were dismissed and it ceased operations. On January 31, 2013, charter air-tour operator AstraJet's holding company, AJET Holdings LLC, signed a purchase agreement to buy Ryan International out of bankruptcy with plans to restart the airline under the AstraJet name, operating commercial and charter flights out of Europe to Florida, the Far East, Hawaii, Nevada, and South America. The purchase was completed on March 4, 2013, with AJET taking control of Ryan's Part-121 scheduled-air-carrier license and collective-bargaining agreement with flight attendants and pilots.
Kickback fraud scheme
On Aug. 13, 2013, a grand jury returned an indictment against Sean E. Wagner, the former owner and operator of Aviation Fuel International Inc (AFI), and against AFI, charging them for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud Ryan International Airlines. According to the indictment, Wagner and AFI made kickback payments to Wayne Kepple, a former vice president of ground operations for Ryan, in exchange for awarding business to AFI.
According to court documents, from at least as early as December 2005 through at least August 2009, Wagner and others at AFI made kickback payments to Kepple totaling more than $200,000 in the form of checks, wire transfers, cash and gift cards.
Wagner pleaded guilty on March 12, 2014 to participating in a kickback scheme to defraud Ryan Airlines. The charges against AFI were dismissed on Feb. 21, 2014.
Ryan International operated a diverse fleet of jetliners during its existence including the following aircraft:
- Airbus A320
- Airbus A330-200
- Airbus A330-300
- Boeing 727-100
- Boeing 727-200
- Boeing 737-200
- Boeing 737-300
- Boeing 737-400
- Boeing 737-500
- Boeing 737-800
- Boeing 757-200
- Boeing 767-300
- McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10
- McDonnell Douglas MD-82
- McDonnell Douglas MD-83
- McDonnell Douglas MD-87
- Leaf, Brian. "Rockford airport out of plan for Ryan rebrand". Rockford Register Star. GateHouse Media, Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Leaf, Brian. "Journalist". 'Less military flying' cited in Ryan International Airlines furloughs. Rockford Register Star. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- Flight International 12–18 April 2005
- Wong, Edward (2003-07-27). "Courting the Rare Big Order for Planes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- Gleason, Stephanie (2012-03-07). "Ryan International Airlines Files for Chapter 11". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- "Ryan International Airlines Chapter 11 Petition" (PDF). PacerMonitor. PacerMonitor. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- "Rockford's Ryan International Airlines liquidating". WREX Rockford. 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
- "SBCO DBA Select Business and Corporation Opportunities, Inc., Announces the Signing of a Stock Purchase Agreement Between AJet Holdings, LLC DBA Astra Jet (a Portfolio Company) and Ryan International Airlines, Inc. (RYAN)". Yahoo Finance. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "SBCO DBA Select Business and Corporation Opportunities, Inc., Announces the Completion and Purchase of 100% of the Stock of Ryan International Airlines, Inc., (RYAN) by Its Portfolio Company AstraJet/AJet Holdings, LLC". Yahoo Finance. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "Fuel Company Owner Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Ryan International Airlines". AvStop Online Magazine. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
- http://www.airliners.net, photos of Ryan International Airlines aircraft
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