AirX distances itself from its founder’s alleged actions in €386 million lawsuit

AirX, the Maltese-registered private jet company facing a €386 million lawsuit from rival VistaJet, has distanced itself from the actions of its founder, John Matthews.

Matthews allegedly manipulated international media outlets as part of a coordinated smear campaign against VistaJet.

Documents reviewed by The Shift, which were presented in court by AirX as a response to VistaJet’s claim for damages, state that the company had nothing to do with the alleged damages caused, dissemination of false information, and manipulation of media outlets through a WhatsApp Group called “Vista Comms”.

AirX claimed that these alleged actions were the personal initiative of its founder, John Matthews, and were not endorsed by AirX.

“The alleged WhatsApp group was started, administered, and controlled by John Matthews, in his personal capacity,” AirX lawyers Joseph Ghio and Carl Grech told Judge Toni Abela in court.

AirX further claimed that the €386 million in damages claimed by VistaJet was exaggerated and unjustified.

They also argued that the Maltese courts did not have jurisdiction to determine the case because Matthews is a British citizen and should be tried in the UK.

AirX did not discuss the merits of VistaJet’s claims in its lawsuit, including claims of an orchestrated campaign in the international media by Matthews and AirX employees.

AirX vehemently denied all the claims made against it by VistaJet. Despite the company distancing itself from its founder, John Matthews is still listed as its chairman.

AirX Founder John Matthews. Photo: AirX.

Sources in the aviation industry told The Shift that if the Maltese court accepts the lawsuit, it would spell the end of AirX.

According to its latest published accounts for 2021, AirX is already in troubled waters, with auditors highlighting “significant doubts about the group’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

VistaJet accused Matthews and AirX top executives of damaging its reputation and trying to force it out of business through covert tactics, including a burner email address and a fabricated identity.

It also provided the court with alleged internal AirX WhatsApp group conversations and actions about plans to increase AirX rates for its services and the possible acquisition of Vistajet planes in case the latter collapses due to the coordinated smear campaign on the international media, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, CNBC and other reputable media outlets.

VistaJet claimed that this campaign resulted in the loss of clients, credit, business financing, and the loss of value of its share price, causing it at least €386 million in damages.

VistaJet has been operating since 2004 and relocated to Malta in 2012. It has become one of the biggest private jet operators globally and operates around 280 aircraft, 90 of which are registered under the Maltese flag. It has 3,225 employees, including 445 based in Malta.

AirX was founded in 2011 by John Matthews and is also registered and operates in Malta. According to its website, it has 16 private jets and specialises in bespoke VIP air travel services.

Right of reply

Following the publication of the article, AirX lawyers sent in a Right of Reply stating:

“The statement that AirX distanced itself from a WhatsApp group which caused this suit ‘misrepresents the actions and intention of AirX and Matthews as the sworn reply was filed for all defendents, including AirX and a number of employees and not on behalf of Matthews alone.

That what was reported that AirX did not discuss the merits of VistaJet’s claims in its lawsuit, including claims of an orchestrated campaign in the international media by Matthews and AirX employees, also misrepresents AirX’s intentions as the sworn reply constitutes a succinct list of ‘pleas’ both procedural, as well as on the merits raised by their defendants.”

AirX lawyers insisted that AirX categorically denies having distanced itself from its founder and any other inference or conclusion would be incorrect, misleading and/or untrue.

AirX’s full statement can be seen here

                           

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3 Comments
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Icarus
Icarus
26 days ago

According to its latest published accounts for 2021, AirX is already in troubled waters, with auditors highlighting “significant doubts about the group’s ability to continue as a growing concern.

It would be interesting to see the financial analysis by the licensing authority in Triq il-Pantar…… or is nothing being done in this respect? One wonders….

9h boo
9h boo
26 days ago
Reply to  Icarus

Air X last two audited accounts have the same ‘going concern’ warning and as recently as January 2024. This is the same guy who is trying to say that others are Loss Making Operators when he clearly is himself. Interesting deflection tactic…

Debbie Camenzuli
Debbie Camenzuli
26 days ago

☺️

Last edited 26 days ago by Debbie Camenzuli

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