Chapter 11

Chapter 11: Global Aviation’s Second Visit This Year

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There’s a good chance the Chapter 11 filing by Global Aviation Holdings Inc., on Nov. 11, 2013, went unnoticed by most people.  Probably the same amount of attention that its emergence from bankruptcy protection caused this past February.

That’s right – February 2013.

But the company becoming a serial filer isn’t the only thing interesting about the filing by Global, which provides military, cargo, passenger and commercial charter air transportation services through two airlines — World Airways, Inc. and North American Airlines, Inc.  First of all, the Peachtree City, Ga., company provided charter services for the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.  And, oh yes, the company even flew the Minnesota Vikings to London to play a National Football League game.

For these, and other reasons apparently not linked to its double-dip into Chapter 11, the documents accompanying its bankruptcy filing provide some interesting history – not to mention messaging.

For instance, consider the declaration filed by William A. Garrett, executive vice president and chief financial officer.  “Global Aviation has come to be known as the gold standard in providing safe and high-quality service to the United States military,” Garrett says. He also states that the company has developed a reputation for safe and reliable commercial cargo and passenger services, which it provides to a broad customer base that includes major corporations, domestic and international airlines, logistics companies, presidential campaigns, sports teams, entertainers and production companies.

From a messaging standpoint, of course, this is standard boilerplate stuff that a company would use in good times or bad.  It may be a legal document, but this is PR messaging.

Deeper reading into Garrett’s declaration goes beyond the bumper-sticker descriptions, however.  He notes that Global emerged from its previous visit to Chapter 11 with a go-forward operating strategy where future success would continue reliant on the needs of the military and certain key commercial cargo customers.  With good reason: Global’s World unit operates large, wide-body freighter planes.  And they need to be filled to the top for the company to succeed.

Unfortunately for the company, and what it apparently didn’t see when building that go-forward plan, was that the government would cut back on its demand for World’s services.  On Sept. 30, 2013, the U.S. military apparently surprised the company and others when it announced that significant additional cutbacks would be coming on Dec. 1, 2013.

Oops.  Guess that go-forward strategy forgot the part about broadening out the customer base so the company wouldn’t be so dependent upon a single sector.

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