Aigle Azur CEO Frantz Yvelin has resigned from his post, after facing down a shareholder coup and seeing the airline placed into receivership.

“I resign,” Yvelin said on BFM TV Sept. 4. “I have done absolutely everything I could for the past two years.”

“We presented a plan, and that plan allowed us to save more than 90% of the airline’s jobs and to secure its activities,” Yvelin added, referring to a plan to sell part of the airline’s activities to International Airlines Group (IAG) unit Vueling. “Certain unions did not want it and Mr. [Gerard] Houa wanted to launch his coup. There comes a point when you can’t fight everyone.” 

Under Yvelin, Aigle Azur decided to launch onto the long-haul scene with the help of shareholders, including Azul chairman David Neeleman, who holds 32%, and Hainan Airlines parent HNA Group, which owns 48% of the French carrier. However, the two main problems the airline faced in the past two years had been the “sudden and unpredictable” withdrawal of support by HNA Group and fuel price increases, Yvelin said. 

The airline announced the suspension of services to Beijing in March and will cut services to Sao Paulo, Brazil from Sept. 27.

The company’s management has had to fend off a shareholder coup in recent weeks, after the head of Lu Azur—a 19% shareholder in Aigle Azur—tried to seize control and oust Yvelin in a bid to put a stop to what it called “strategic errors.”

After the appointment of a temporary court-appointed administrator at Yvelin’s request, the airline went into receivership Sept. 2 and said Sept. 3 it was open to an offer from a buyer with bids due by Sept. 9. 

“It was a very difficult decision,” Yvelin said, referring to his resignation. “Aigle Azur is the third airline I have run, and I have done everything I could,” said the airline entrepreneur and pilot, who previously set up L’Avion and French all-business class transatlantic airline La Compagnie. He joined Aigle Azur in August 2017.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk