The North Carolina Labor Department has recently put forth a request with the US Bankruptcy Court and the North Carolina Justice Department to collect nearly $1.5 million in wages due to over 420 workers, who lost their jobs from the now bankrupt, Pace Airlines. However, the bankruptcy trustee and various labor department officials said there is no guarantee wages will be paid.
The airline filed for bankruptcy back in January, yet a preliminary financial statement indicates Pace Airlines has $1.8 million in assets and another $3 million in debts—which do not include the workers’ wages.
Pace, based in Winston-Salem, was an airline which focused on executive passenger and sports-related flight charters. Pace Airlines was founded in 1996 and in 2000, named Darrell Richardson its, then, new President. He would go on to expand the airline—including its operations and client base.
In 2002, Pace Airlines, Inc. was sold to Pace Airlines, LLC & Pace Airlines II, LLC. Later that year, Robert H. Brooks, owner of Hooters, went on to buy Pace Airlines and soon, Hooters Air was introduced—its headquarters were based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Brooks relied on the “Hooters” name to lure passengers. Hooters Air lasted only three years (2003-2006), failing in large part because of rising jet fuel costs.
North Carolina’s unemployment rate has been one scary roller-coaster ride in 2010. In January, North Carolina lost many jobs and consequently, homes to foreclosure. Yet, over the course of the year and through the month of June, NC was one of only five states to experience statistically significant employment increases with 29,800, according to The United States Department of Labor.