SeaPort, Owned by ADI’s Beardsley, Files Chapter 11

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – SeaPort Airlines Inc., a passenger carrier based in Portland, Ore., that’s owned by John Beardsley, has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, seeking  relief from more than 200 creditors who collectively are owed as much as $10 million.

Beardsley is the CEO of SeaPort and the owner of Aerodynamics Inc., the passenger carrier that plans to provide daily service from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

ADI was granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity Jan. 28 by the U.S. Department of Transportation, clearing the way for the company to begin service here. But since then, Executive Express Aviation LLC filed an objection last Wednesday to DOT’s certificate and two more companies filed objections Friday, bringing to three the number of objections  filed against ADI, all centering on its financial viability, since the DOT certification.

Dan DIckten, director of aviation at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, responded to SeaPort’s bankruptcy filing by posing a question of his own: “What airline can you think of that’s never been through a bankruptcy?” he said.

Dickten says the bankruptcy filing makes no difference to him. “I’m planning on a launch this spring” of ADI’s passenger service from the airport in Vienna Township.

Beardsley and his wife, Janet, purchased ADI last year from its former owner, Scott Beale. DOT had balked at granting ADI’s application for the certificate needed to provide the proposed Chicago service because of a civil fraud finding against Beale, and considered revoking ADI’s existing certification.

On SeaPort’s list of largest unsecured creditors is Executive Express Aviation of Sugar Grove, Ill. SeaPort was formerly known as Alaska Juneau Aeronautics Inc., according to court documents, and formerly did business as Wings of Alaska.

The objection Executive Express filed targeted Beardsley and his business dealings. “With unclean hands,” Executive Express Aviation’s objection stated, Beardsley wishes DOT “to believe that there have been no ‘charges of unfair, deceptive, or anti-competitive business practices, or of any fraud, felony, or anti-trust violations brought against any of [the parties involved in the case.]’ Perhaps that was the case last month; it is not the case today.”

ADI responded to the objection by calling it “a private commercial contract dispute … that has nothing to do with ADI.”

SeaPort’s Chapter 11  reorganization petition was filed Feb. 5. The Portland law firm of Vanden Bos and Chapman LLP is representing SeaPort, and was paid a $50,000 retainer Feb. 2 by Beardsley, documents show.

The president of the commuter carrier is Timothy F. Sieber.

“The difficult decision to file for bankruptcy protection was necessary to preserve the future of our airline,” Sieber said in a prepared statement. “I am confident we will come out the other side of reorganization with a financially stronger airline in a better position to handle the challenges of the industry and provide the quality service our customers, employees and partners deserve.”

First-day motions authorizing the payment of payroll and obligations to ticket holders and travel agents and were approved Feb. 6 by Judge Randall L. Dunn.

Published reports in Oregon described SeaPort as struggling and noted that last month SeaPort postponed “scheduled air service from Port Angeles to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport indefinitely due to a pilot shortage.”

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