Ellinair (ELB, Thessaloniki) has refuted claims of filing for bankruptcy, asserting that former employees initiated the bankruptcy petition, which is still pending a court decision.

The company was reacting to a regulatory filing by the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry on May 22 that documented the bankruptcy application in the Thessaloniki Court of First Instance. The chamber also documented that Ellinair was suspended from the Greek Commercial Register on March 22, 2024, after it had failed to file its 2022 annual financial statement.

In a statement to ch-aviation, Ellinair clarified that a group of former employees had opted not to settle with the carrier's new owners, choosing instead to independently pursue bankruptcy proceedings, which were heard in court in February 2024. The company did not provide clarification on the current status of the bankruptcy application. Reports from the Greek daily Kathimerini on May 24 said that the court's decision on the petition was still pending. It was initiated by 12 former employees over unpaid wages and liabilities to suppliers and partners dating back to mid-2021.

In March, Kathimerini reported that the Thessaloniki court had denied a request from a company representative to postpone the liquidation hearing as it hoped to access a European Commission-approved state aid package for debt repayment. An Ellinair spokesperson told ch-aviation at the time: "We await resolution through pending court proceedings to access these funds."

In May 2022, the European Commission approved EUR6.8 million euros (USD7.3 million) in Covid-19 state aid to Ellinair, anticipated to alleviate the airline's financial strain. However, according to the company's 2020 financial report signed off in January 2024, the National Bank of Greece attached the company's depository bank accounts, including the EU compensation, following a seizure request by the disgruntled former employees. According to the report, this froze any recovery efforts due to a lack of liquidity. The company suspended operations in November 2021.

Founded as a subsidiary of Greek tour operator Mouzenidis Travel, Ellinair was bought by a new investor, Vardakis Konstantinos, through his company Metropolitan Investment Group SA, in September 2021 following the unexpected death of founder Boris Mouzenidis in March 2021. Despite setbacks, the new owners have revised the business plan to concentrate on ACMI operations.

"Ellinair Airlines, under its new ownership, is actively working to re-establish its operations as an ACMI service provider. The company is committed to settling all past debts and moving forward towards a stable and prosperous future," the carrier stated. "We appreciate the understanding and support of our partners, customers, and stakeholders as we navigate this transitional period. Ellinair remains dedicated to providing reliable and high-quality aviation services."