Zetta Jet knocked out
The most hyped boxing match of 2017 was one between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor. Dubbed “the Money Fight”, it took place in Las Vegas in September. Viewers watching closely may have seen the infinity logo belonging to Zetta Jet, the private jet operator, on the ropes.
Mayweather and McGregor worked hard to attract publicity in the run-up to the fight. This included four press conferences in four days in Los Angeles, Toronto, Brooklyn and London. As part of their sponsorship deal, the fighters used Zetta Jet aircraft to fly between each city – joining a long list of Zetta Jet celebrity passengers. (This even led to a short internet conspiracy that all of the animosity was fake as they flew together.)
Behind the scenes, a different money fight was happening between Zetta Jet’s three co-founders.
The first round involved Geoffrey Cassidy being removed from the board. In the second, Zetta Jet filed fraud allegations against him (which he denies). The third involved it filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Yesterday, the company was knocked out completely.
The abrupt closure of the operator is a surprise. It had agreed financing from Nathanial Rothschild, a Zetta Jet customer and lessor, that would have allowed it to keep restructuring. Zetta Jet had planned to exit Chapter 11 next February and there were a number of credible prospective buyers. But, in court on Tuesday, a few creditors objected to the restructuring and forced it to file for Chapter 7.
They may be regretting it now. Zetta Jet has parked its 12 aircraft and staff received their last pay packet yesterday. It is hard to see why the creditors objected, particularly as there is a long record of US airlines using Chapter 11 to restructure successfully.
The fight for Zetta Jet has been a more brutal and (at least metaphorically) bloody battle than the Mayweather-McGregor fight. Mayweather and McGregor have shaken hands and spoke about each other respectfully. But as with boxers, although they are bruised, the participants are likely to get back in the ring again.