Creditors approve Wasaya Airways debt restructuring
Unsecured creditors accepted offer of 10 cents on the dollar to keep First Nations airline solvent
The head of Wasaya Airways says the company's creditors have accepted debt restructuring proposals made at meetings in Thunder Bay this week.
President and CEO Michael Rodyniuk said a pair of meetings, run by insolvency trustees Vine and Williams on Tuesday, took a total of about 20 minutes.
"They have seen that there's more value to Wasaya as an ongoing entity, than there would be if Wasaya were to go away," Rodyniuk said of the First Nations-owned company that services remote communities in northern Ontario.
The outstanding debt amounted to more than $35 million, with approximately $7.85 million of that owed to the Royal Bank of Canada, according to Vine and Williams.
Much of the debt accrued by service providers was "really old debt, accrued decades ago," Rodyniuk said.
A long list of unsecured creditors accepted the company's proposal of 10 cents on every dollar of debt.
According to documents from the insolvency trustees, they include:
- Municipality of Sioux Lookout Airport, owed $316,255.95
- Fort William First Nation, owed $87,354.08
- First Nations Petro Ltd., owed $67,399.91
"We owe a debt of gratitude to those creditors who have been patient with us and have worked with us in this restructuring, Rodyniuk said. "Also to our employees who have been fantastic throughout this process and our First Nations owners — the chiefs and councils and communities have been incredibly supportive."
Rodyniuk said there is renewed confidence in the company since it made significant operational change in 2014.
The restructuring makes Wasaya "bankable," he said, adding the company is "poised to grow," recently buying two new aircraft.
Wasaya is owned by 12 First Nations in Ontario that do not have year-round road access. It has been in business for 26 years.
with files from Jody Porter and Matt Prokopchuk. Edited/packaged by Casey Stranges