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Tue, Jun 13, 2006

Court Orders Brazil's Varig To Give Back Planes

As Many As 10 Airliners To Be Returned

It's not looking good for Varig, the Brazilian airline that has seen its fortunes go from bad to worse in the past month.

After an unsuccessful auction failed to attract a buyer for the troubled airline in May, the New York Supreme Court has ordered Varig to turn over a number of its planes to various plaintiffs, including Boeing.

Reuters reports the court injunction calls for Varig -- which declared bankruptcy in 2005 -- to stop operating those planes Monday, and return them to the plantiffs by June 16. The injunction also called for Varig's non-operating aircraft to be returned to owners by July 1.

That means the storied carrier, founded in 1927, will have to return as many as 10 planes to Boeing.

Meanwhile, a Brazilian judge is currently debating whether to authorize the sale of the airline. Judge Luiz Roberto Ayoub was to rule on the matter Friday, but postponed his decision after receiving a last-minute bid from the Multilong Corporation, which offered $800 million for Varig.

The first round of bidding failed to produce an offer that met the court's minimum price of $860 million... but the second auction process doesn't have a minimum bid requirement, which may mean Varig will continue to fly after all. Stay tuned.

FMI: www.varig.com

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