Fly Blue Crane (Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) has entered into Business Rescue, the South African equivalent of US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, following weeks of speculation about the carrier's future prospects.

According to eTNW news, Fly Blue Crane made the move on Monday, November 14. However, despite its current state of financial distress, there are "reasonable prospects to rescue the business and company".

Fly Blue Crane has been in talks with an undisclosed Gulf carrier over the possible sale of up to 25% equity. The transaction has, however, been hampered by the terms of a ZAR30 million bridging finance loan secured from the state-run Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) which requires Fly Blue Crane not to negatively impact South Africa's state-owned carriers, namely South African Airways, Mango Airlines and South African Express.

As such, for the duration of Business Rescue, the carrier will re-organise and restructure its operations while continuing talks with prospective investors.

Founded in 2014 by former South African Airways executives Siza Mzimela, Theunis Potgieter, and Jerome Simelane, Fly Blue Crane wet-leases two E145s from Solenta Aviation (SET, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) for use on scheduled domestic passenger flights to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, Bloemfontein, Cape Town International, Kimberley, and Mthatha.