Lead in the wing for Le 737

Lead in the wing for Le 737

DAY

The 737 restaurant plane is going through a major turbulent zone as the company takes shelter from its creditors for debts of $ 3 million, a decision it attributes to “harassment by the City and the few citizens who complain about the noise”.

On October 5, 737 filed a notice of intention to make a proposal to its 59 creditors. This is a measure to avoid crushing, a final stage of restructuring before bankruptcy.

The company owes $683,000 to the Royal Bank of Canada, $104,000 to a La Cage restaurant and $300,000 to two construction companies. Two companies that were part of the initial group of shareholders, namely Faure Immobilier and Aérotek Aviation, are also part of the creditors. The 737 owes them $700,000 and $350,000 respectively.

The company's total debt amounts to $3,051,440.78, but its president, Dany Gagnon, insists: if the formula could be that of day 1, we would not be there.

“We generated profits the first year with the initial formula. A business cannot go from profitable to bankrupt in not even a year without something happening,” says the businessman.

Difficulties with neighbours

Airplane-restaurant, outdoor bar presenting shows during the summer season and flight simulator, the unique offer of the 737 was launched in the summer of 2021 on the grounds of the Aéroport de Québec. Quickly, an outcry from the residents of the sector had put lead in the wing of the project, pointing out as a nuisance to the tranquility of the place. 

As soon as the second season last May, citizens returned to the charge to denounce the noise pollution linked to the evenings organized by the company.

“Unfortunately, 18 residents have generated more than 100 complaints and will overcome a business that has had more than 100,000 visitors in one year and who are 99% happy with their experience,” laments Dany. Gagnon.

The latter had also sent a formal notice to the City of Quebec in recent weeks. He claimed to be the victim of “relentlessness” on the part of the Quebec Fire Protection Service for too frequent inspections and numerous noise tickets.

“We spent the summer putting measures in place, but we lost revenue because groups were canceling because of bad press, companies didn't want to be associated,” explains Mr. Gagnon, adding that the changes programming also had repercussions.

“We went from having a full band playing every night to one night a week. The rest of the time, it's acoustics, which ends at 9:30 p.m. Let's say it's not the same atmosphere, it didn't lift as much and it impacted sales. We fell 60% this summer.”

No way out

Dany Gagnon maintains that, in the current context, there is little chance of seeing Le 737 take off again next year. 

“We cannot move. When we saw what was going on this year, we took steps, but we have already invested $3.2 million on the site and we received a quote for $3.2 million more to move, “says the businessman.

“It's there [at the airport] or not at all.”

A meeting is scheduled for next week with the management of the Quebec City Airport to discuss the file, but the entrepreneur has little hope for its outcome. “If they believed in it, they would have fought with us from the start to have their jurisdiction respected,” maintains Dany Gagnon, who struggles to understand why we are hounding his business when the City shows tolerance towards other similar activities.

“If the City doesn't end up treating Le 737 as it does with the Backyard of the Brewery or the Agora of the Old Port, there is no way out.”