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Archive for Saturday, September 7, 2002

Hooters owner plans to buy assets of Vanguard

September 7, 2002

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— The owner of the Hooters restaurant chain plans to buy the assets of bankrupt Vanguard Airlines Inc., his attorney said Friday.

The new airline will be called Hooters Air Inc. and may use the Hooters name and distinctive orange coloring, said A.J. Block, the Atlanta-based attorney for Hooters of America chairman Robert H. Brooks.

But, "there certainly won't be Hooters Girls running up and down the aisles," Block said.

"It's going to look like an airline. It's not going to look like a Hooters restaurant," he said.

Brooks has been giving Kansas City, Mo.-based Vanguard about $50,000 each week since mid-August, to keep a skeleton staff while he considered whether to buy the assets of the bankrupt low-fare carrier.

Brooks will submit an offer either next week or the week after, Block said. Block said the offer will be ready on Monday, but that Brooks might wait until the following week to submit the proposal because of next week's anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

A Vanguard spokeswoman did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press.

The new airline would fly about five of Vanguard's current routes, with more to be added later, Block said.

Block said he assumes the new airline would hire many Vanguard employees. Vanguard laid off about 1,000 workers when it shut down operations and filed for bankruptcy on July 30.

All of Vanguard's airplanes were leased. Brooks would be buying assets such as airplane parts, ground equipment and furniture, Block said.

Vanguard, founded in 1994, had never shown a yearly profit. But Sept. 11 made its problems worse, and it along with US Airways and Midway Airlines have filed for bankruptcy since the terrorist attacks.

Block has said Brooks was interested in Vanguard partly because he lives Myrtle Beach, S.C., which was among the airline's destinations.

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