Former boss of XL and Silverjet clears way for airline comeback

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Former Silverjet chairman and XL Leisure Group chief executive Peter Owen is believed to have struck a deal with creditors to annul his bankruptcy, in a move that could herald his return to the industry.

The Independent on Sunday has learned that Mr Owen has come to an agreement to pay a sum to Silverjet’s administrator, Begbies Traynor, a month after having his original overture rejected. Mr Owen is thought to have made an initial offer to pay £30,000 to settle his £240,000 debt with Silverjet. But it is believed the administrator has accepted an improved offer that extricates him from bankruptcy.

A former head of operations at BA in the 1990s, Mr Owen, who was briefly chief executive of Aer Lingus too, declared himself bankrupt at Kingston County Court in May last year. An annulment will mean he is free to return to the travel industry as a company director.

Last month it was revealed that Phil Wyatt, the founder of XL Leisure, had returned to the travel industry less than six months after the collapse of the company, which folded with debts of more than £100m.

Mr Wyatt, through his business Black Pearl Investments, named after Johnny Depp’s ship in Pirates of the Caribbean, has taken a 50 per cent stake in Viking Airlines through its Icelandic operation, BPI Iceland. Alongside Mr Wyatt, Halldor Sigurdarson, XL’s former finance director, and former XL director Magnus Stephensen are backers of the new investment firm behind Viking.