Italian carrier Livingston has staved off an attempt by ENAC, the country’s civil aviation regulator, to suspend its operating licence.

Privately-owned Livingston operates three Airbus A320s on scheduled and charter services from its base at Milan Malpensa.                                                                       

ENAC announced last week that it planned to withdraw the airline’s permission to operate from July 14, “given the obvious financial problems faced by the company.”

The company – its formal name is New Livingston, although its aircraft operate under the Livingston title – found itself in difficulties following the bankruptcy of one of its debtors, airport operator Aeradria.

This was exacerbated by the decision of the Sardinian regional government to withdraw a licence for a PSO route operated by Livingston between the Sardinian city of Alghero and Rome Fiumicino.

Livingston applied to Court of Busto Arsizio for a ‘procedura di concordato preventivo con riserva’, the Italian equivalent of Chapter 11 protection, “to overcome a temporary financial crisis.”

It also applied to ENAC to revoke the suspension of its licence. It pointed out to the regulator that it had bookings for more than 400,000 passengers over the summer holiday period, which were expected to generate “significant positive cash flows.”

The carrier announced late Monday night that the court had appointed a ‘judicial commissioner’ to oversee its financial restructuring process and that ENAC had withdrawn its threatened suspension. This meant that services would continue as normal past the previous 14 July cut-off point.

Livingston spokeswoman Silvia Ruscitto told ATW Tuesday that the granting of bankruptcy protection would give it breathing space to reform its finances.

She said that Aeradria, the operator of Rimini airport, had guaranteed Livingston’s operations after it stepped in two years ago to take over flights from the eastern Italian airport to Russia following the demise of fellow Italian carrier Windjet.

She added that Livingston was seeking some $8 million that the airline claimed was owed by the Sardinian regional government. “We have a claim against them in progress,” she said.  

The Alghero-Rome route is heavily seasonal, losing money in the winter but solidly booked in summer as Italians head to the Mediterranean island for holidays. The flights ceased June 6, just as the summer season was getting underway.