Cosmo Airlines purchases PLUNA CRJ-900s at auction

During an auction on October 1st, 2012, the Uruguayan government sold the Spanish charter airline Cosmo seven CRJ-900s that has been previously operated by PLUNA airlines. The airline plans to operate the CRJs on charter operations within Europe for the winter 2012 travel season.

Previously Cosmo had operated two A320s on ACMI leases from other carriers, but intends to secure loans to operated and own the CRJs itself. The airline was the only bidder for the seven CRJ-900s and was required to deposit 13.69 million dollars as collateral to enter the auction. Cosmo has until the beginning of November 2012 to complete payment of 137 million dollars plus commission and taxes for the CRJs.

None of the bidders of the first auction three weeks prior were present at the second auction. Uruguay’s BQB; Argentina’s Sol airlines; an Argentine charter company belonging to the Macri family, and Venezuela’s Conviasa declined to attend for various reasons.

Proceeds from the sale of the seven CRJ-900s will go to repay the Bank of Nova Scotia as it holds liens on the CRJs. The other six CRJ-900s unsold are on lease but if they are returned ahead of schedule there is a large fee involved.

Rumors are that the Uruguayan ministry of Public Works will arrange for the six remaining CRJs and as many as 120 former PLUNA staff members will be involved with a new regional airline or a new PLUNA operated by Lopez Mena who runs a series of boat ferries lines Uruguay with Argentina and also owns the small airline BQB, which operates two small aircraft on the Montevideo to Buenos Aires route.

The CRJs purchased in the auction were: CX-CRA, CX-CRB, CX-CRC, CX-CRD, CX-CRE, CX-CRF and CX-CRG.

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