At what point did Zircon Airways Benin cease operations?

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By Mackenzie Roche

Zircon Airways Benin was a private airline that operated in the West African region. The airline, which was based in Cotonou, Benin, started its operations in 2005 and ceased operations in 2018. The closure of Zircon Airways Benin came as a shock to many of its customers, employees, and industry players. In this article, we will explore the background of Zircon Airways Benin, the financial challenges that led to its closure, and the impact of its closure on the aviation industry.

Background of Zircon Airways Benin

Zircon Airways Benin was founded by a group of private investors who were keen to tap into the growing air travel market in West Africa. The airline started with a fleet of three aircraft and operated flights to major cities in the region, including Lagos, Accra, Abidjan, and Dakar. The airline also offered charter services to clients in the oil and gas industry. At its peak, the airline employed over 100 staff members.

Financial Challenges Faced by Zircon Airways Benin

Zircon Airways Benin faced numerous financial challenges throughout its existence. One of the main challenges was the high cost of aviation fuel, which accounted for a significant proportion of the airline’s operating expenses. The airline also faced stiff competition from established airlines, such as Air France and Ethiopian Airlines, which had a stronger brand presence and larger fleets. In addition, the airline was hit hard by the global economic recession of 2008, which led to a decline in demand for air travel.

Suspension of Operations by Zircon Airways Benin

In 2016, Zircon Airways Benin suspended its operations due to financial difficulties. The airline had accumulated a large debt owed to its creditors, which it was unable to repay. In addition, the airline was facing legal action from its employees, who were owed several months’ worth of salaries and benefits. The suspension of operations led to the grounding of the airline’s fleet and the loss of jobs for its employees.

Attempts to Resume Operations by Zircon Airways Benin

After the suspension of operations, Zircon Airways Benin made several attempts to resume its operations. The airline secured a loan from a local bank, which it used to pay off some of its creditors and employees. The airline also entered into negotiations with aircraft manufacturers to lease newer, more fuel-efficient planes. However, these efforts were not enough to save the airline from collapse.

Bankruptcy Filing by Zircon Airways Benin

In 2018, Zircon Airways Benin filed for bankruptcy after failing to secure additional funding from its creditors and investors. The bankruptcy filing meant that the airline’s assets would be liquidated to pay off its debts. The bankruptcy filing also meant that the airline’s employees would not receive their outstanding salaries and benefits.

Asset Liquidation by Zircon Airways Benin

Following the bankruptcy filing, Zircon Airways Benin’s assets were liquidated through a court-administered process. The airline’s fleet of aircraft, office equipment, and other assets were sold off to pay off its creditors. The sale of the assets generated some revenue, which was used to pay off some of the airline’s debts. However, the revenue generated was not enough to pay off all the airline’s creditors.

Attempts to Recover Funds by Zircon Airways Benin’s Creditors

Zircon Airways Benin’s creditors have made several attempts to recover the funds owed to them by the airline. Some creditors have initiated legal proceedings against the airline’s directors and shareholders, alleging that they were responsible for mismanaging the airline’s affairs. However, these legal proceedings have not yet resulted in any significant recoveries.

Impact of Zircon Airways Benin’s Closure on the Aviation Industry

Zircon Airways Benin’s closure had a significant impact on the aviation industry in West Africa. The closure of the airline meant that there was one less player in the market, reducing competition and potentially leading to higher prices for customers. The closure of the airline also led to the loss of jobs for its employees and the loss of revenue for its suppliers and partners.

Lessons Learned from Zircon Airways Benin’s Closure

The closure of Zircon Airways Benin offers several lessons for the aviation industry. Firstly, the high cost of aviation fuel remains a major challenge for airlines operating in the region. Secondly, competition from established airlines can be tough for new entrants to the market. Finally, proper financial management is critical for the survival of any business, especially in a highly competitive industry like aviation.


Zircon Airways Benin’s closure was a sad end to a promising airline. The closure of the airline was a result of several factors, including high operating costs, stiff competition, and poor financial management. The closure of the airline had a significant impact on the aviation industry in West Africa, highlighting the challenges faced by airlines operating in the region.

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Mackenzie Roche

Mackenzie Roche, part of the content operations team at TravelAsker, boasts three years of experience as a travel editor with expertise in hotel content at U.S. News & World Report. A journalism and creative writing graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park, she brings a wealth of literary prowess to her work. Beyond the desk, Mackenzie embraces a balanced life, indulging in yoga, reading, beach outings, and culinary adventures across Los Angeles.

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