SBD/February 12, 2013/Franchises

Swift Air Bankruptcy Causes Travel Headaches For Several NBA, NHL Franchises

The Avalanche during the NHL lockout received “extra time” to locate a new charter airline for the team, but “that can't be said for three other NHL squads that began a shortened season last month or two NBA teams that stuck with troubled Swift Air,” according to David Migoya of the DENVER POST. The Avs and Nuggets were under contract with Swift Air through ‘16, but the Phoenix-based airline “filed for bankruptcy reorganization last year, pressing a number of sports franchises to decide whether to stay or find a new carrier.” The airline, which began in '97 with former Coyotes Owner Jerry Moyes, “contracted to provide transportation for a number of NHL and NBA teams, a list that bankruptcy forced it to pare last summer.” Swift Air initially “had contracts to shuttle" three NBA teams and five NHL clubs. Court records show that season-long contracts “ranged from” $2M for the Predators to $2.6M for the Blackhawks. Records also show that the per-flight cost to take the Avs to each away game in the '11-12 season "ranged from $60,600 for a red-eye to Denver from Newark, N.J., to $13,000 for a red-eye home from Columbus, Ohio.” The Avs' deal for the ‘12-13 regular season was for $2.2M, “had there been a full season,” while the Nuggets' deal was for $2.36M. Both teams in September were “released" from their deals with Swift. Court records show that the teams that stayed with Swift Air “had problems, mostly because the Bucks and Celtics were the company’s only cash flow as long as an NHL lockout remained in place.” Once the NHL “started to play,” Swift was “back in business.” It is “still flying as the bankruptcy proceeds” (DENVER POST, 2/10).
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