VLM (1992) (VG, Antwerp) has filed for bankruptcy protection in an Antwerp commercial court CEO Hamish Davidson has confirmed. The move, if approved, will be valid for a period of six months and will allow the Belgian carrier to restructure its operations.

“We expect that the judicial reorganization will give us the necessary breathing space primarily to repay historical debts and suppliers and to ensure the smooth running of daily operations," he told Belgium's VRT.

KBC Bank's decision to freeze VLM's accounts on Wednesday last week triggered the filing, equivalent to Chapter 11 in the United States. The airline's debts reportedly include EUR3 million (USD3.4 million) owed to the bank as well as an additional EUR3 million owed to various suppliers which include Antwerp Airport.

Against the backdrop of a EUR13 million (USD14.7 million) loss for its last financial year, VLM abandoned plans to lease four SSJ 100/95LRs from Russian lessor, the Ilyushin Finance Co., earlier this year.

At present, it operates eleven Fokker 50s (of which two are leased to each of CityJet (WX, Dublin Int'l) and flybe. (BE, Exeter)) on passenger charter flights as well as scheduled passenger flights between Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, and Norway.