ATA bankruptcy disrupts military flights

When ATA Airlines ceased operations earlier this month, it caused problems for more than just domestic passengers.

The airline, which filed for bankruptcy April 2, provided chartered flights for the military out of Kuwait. Since the shutdown, limited aircraft availability has slowed departures. Troops' deployment and return flights are arranged by the Air Force, which contracts with civilian airlines.

More than 350 soldiers from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team have been delayed in Kuwait, waiting for chartered aircraft to transport them back home . One flight of troops is scheduled to return to Fort Benning before midnight tonight.

Indianapolis-based ATA filed for bankruptcy after the airline was dropped from the FedEx Teaming Arrangement for the 2009 fiscal year. The arrangement gave ATA a share of the airlift contracts under the International Program of the Department of Defense Air Mobility Command, which provides transportation for military personnel to and from overseas destinations.

ATA would lose the contract in October, a full year earlier than expected, but ceased operations immediately because it could not secure financing without the contract.

The airline had previously reduced domestic and international flights because of the increase in the price of jet fuel.