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Okinawa’s Lequio Airline wings clipped before first flight

Date Posted: 2003-03-22

A new Okinawa airline appears to be grounded before it even gets off the ground. Lequio Airline had scheduled its maiden flight for June, but that date is off because its aircraft leasing company that canceled the contract. Reportedly, Lequio was unable to keep up with the payments.

Lequio Airline president Kimio Chinen says the company has not been able to find as many investors as it had planned. The company has been able to raise only one billion yen of the ¥3.8 billion it needs.

The company has also hired a staff of more than 100 people, and it reportedly has trouble paying their salaries. Officials say they probably will end up firing the entire staff and making a fresh start with a revised timetable.

Still, Chinen wows to make his dream come true. “It is true that we have not been able to find enough investors from Okinawa to get this venture going. But I still believe in this dream, and try to find investors outside the prefecture,” Chinen says.

Lequio’s first flight was originally scheduled for spring 2000. That was later changed to July 2003, but now it seems the first flight is in the distant future.

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