Sky King Ceases Airline Operations At Lakeland Linder Regional Airport

ky King filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in late 2012

Jan. 28--LAKELAND -- Sky King Airlines, the charter jet service with headquarters in Lakeland, has suspended its operations here, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Director Gene Conrad said Monday.

Sky King filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in late 2012. The company laid off several employees in December, Conrad said. A new company president, Dan Carson, replaced Frank Visconti.

Carson did not return a phone message Monday. Greg Franchetti, an operations official with the company, said he was "not in a position to make any comments."

While Lakeland Linder's Conrad said he was told by company officials that operations had stopped, Tampa International Airport officials said Sky King continues to conduct flights from Tampa to Cuba.

Emily Nipps, a spokeswoman with Tampa International, said the airline reduced its number of flights to Cuba from three times to once a week in 2013.

Sky King leases 22,000 square feet of hangar space from the city of Lakeland. It subleases much of the area, but had used space at 3200 Flightline Drive for offices. At one time, about 45 people were employed at the company in Lakeland.

Sky King moved some of its offices from California to Lakeland in 2010. A total of about 235 people worked at the company.

In September 2012, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. It was the second time in two years that Sky King had filed for bankruptcy. It came out of its first reorganization effort in June 2011.

At the time, Visconti blamed passenger-jet airline Direct Air for the second bankruptcy filing. Sky King provided planes, pilots and crews to Direct Air, and Visconti had said his company was owed nearly $1 million for that service.

Direct Air abruptly canceled all of its flights, including service to Lakeland Linder, in March 2012. The discount airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a few days later.

Conrad said Sky King is up to date with its $7,800 a month rent.

The company has operated flights for the U.S. government, a casino in Atlantic City and a group of tour operators that flies to the Caribbean.



Copyright 2014 - The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.

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