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Sun, Apr 24, 2005

Chicago Express Sale Falls Through

Real Estate Investor Backs Out

Okun Enterprises dropped out of plans to buy Chicago Express this week after learning more about the review process. ATA has opened discussions with CSC Investment, who had the second highest bid for the airline at the March 30th bankruptcy auction. The Chicago Tribune reported this week that CSC intends to operate the airline as a cargo and passenger shuttle out of Midway airport.

Okun Enterprises claimed that fears of an extended federal review process caused the deal to come apart. "I'm not in a position to buy this thing and have it grounded for two years," said Edward Okun, head of the investment firm, on Tuesday to the Indianapolis Star. "Our target was to get this thing back in the air by Aug. 1."

Okun also told the Star that the airline's flight certificates would be revoked because of the departure of the maintenance chief. ATA said the position had been filled by a former employee.

The airline would have remained grounded while the review was underway. FAA officials said that Okun Enterprises had not filed the necessary paperwork, and a business plan. It was not clear how long a review would take.

"We were waiting for written transportation plans," said FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro to the Star. "They pulled out before they gave us one."




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