Roberta X has a funny post up about the misadventures of a tank. (Not a tank car, or a tank of gas; a honest-to-goodness Chieftain tank.) You should really go read it when you get a chance.
This post is about something I found while reading the original tank story:
Evergreen International Airlines Inc., the troubled McMinnville-based cargo carrier, flew its final military flight last Friday and all remaining aircraft are now parked, according to a pilots’ union memo obtained by The Oregonian.
Evergreen International Airlines? Never heard of them? Why should you care?
Closure of the company — originally scheduled for last Saturday, but denied as false rumor by founder Delford Smith – would end a storied, three-decade history for the airline whose baggage includes close ties with the CIA. Evergreen once operated a global fleet of Boeing 747 cargo jets, running round-the-world flights and keeping a plane on standby for secret U.S. military missions.
Oh, so they were tied to Air America? Interesting. But there’s more. Evergreen, when times were good, put some money into non-profit organizations. One of those organizations is the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, which is notable for having a SR-71 and the Spruce Goose.
Managers say the attractions will remain open. But the Oregon Department of Justice is investigating them for alleged commingling of funds between Evergreen’s profit and nonprofit arms, and Smith may have put up some of the planes in the museum as collateral being claimed by creditors.
Oh, dear. Wikipedia has Evergreen shut down as of November 30th:
Hines told The Oregonian Monday the company was still operating and managers hoped to save it. But an airline can’t function after letting go its operations director and closing its dispatch center, which workers and former employees say occurred at McMinnville headquarters Monday.
So what’s going to happen? Will they sell off the planes? Would you like to buy a 747 used by the CIA? (More seriously, Evergreen also has a 747 that’s been modified for firefighting purposes.)
…former managers say Evergreen has long depended on heavy borrowing, leasing most or all of its aircraft and engines, many of which are now being claimed by creditors.
And even better:
Creditors seeking millions of dollars in damages have filed numerous lawsuits, some of which have produced default judgments as Evergreen lawyers fail to show up in court.
I wonder if the lawyers aren’t showing up because they’re not getting paid.
However, Evergreen does have a FAA issued “airline certificate”. I’ll admit, I’m a little fuzzy on the whole “certificate” thing (RoadRich, you out there somewhere?), but as best as I can put it together, the “airline certificate” gives you FAA authorization to run an airline.
Unless Smith has already sold the rights separately, Evergreen’s certificate may include authority for the holder to fly cargo routes to and from Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. At one time Evergreen had authority to fly almost anywhere, and it may still.
So to heck with buying a 747, you can have an entire airline and fly almost anywhere in the world!
However, a buyer could only acquire the certificate if it bought the airline, which would come with mountains of debt.
Oh. Also, with the certificate and the airline, you also get the pilot’s union, which may or may not be a problem, given that Evergreen is $1.4 million behind in contributions to the pension plan.
But other than those minor issues, this sounds like a great chance to make a small fortune in the aviation industry. That is, if you have a large fortune to start with.