Saints Transport has entered administration after struggling with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation sector.

The company has appointed Paul Ellison and David Taylor of Reading-based KRE Corporate Recovery as its administrators.

The Heathrow-based firm is the largest privately owned air freight specialist in the UK, employing around 350 staff and operating a fleet of 200 trucks.

The company also specialises in high value security loads, temperature controlled transport, hanging garment carriers, nationwide airside capabilities, art logistics, events work and dedicated European haulage.

In its latest annual results to 31 December 2020, which were published in September last year, the family firm revealed that turnover was £12.3m for the year, compared to £11.3m in the six months to 31 December 2019, with pre-tax losses standing at £167,006, the same amount as reported for the six months to 31 December 2019.

In its strategic report to the results the company said at the time it was confident it had sufficient resources available to meet its obligations and to enable it to continue to operate for the “foreseeable future”.

However the report also warned that “given that a degree of uncertainty exists within the economy as a result of Covid-19, and the greater impact this could potentially have on the haulage and aviation industry in which [the company’s] main customer operates, there is a material uncertainty surrounding both the recovery time and the impact of any further restrictions”.

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It had also noted a “degree of uncertainty” surrounding the nationwide shortage of qualified HGV drivers.

The report revealed that it had entered into a “Time to Pay Agreement” on 16 March 2021 with HMRC, in respect of the sum of £1,507,470 relating to older VAT and PAYE balances.

It also noted it had received £1,839,106 from a “connected party, in relation to the outstanding debt, “which will not be repayable on demand or for the foreseeable future”.

The report added: “Furthermore, the directors have guaranteed that no further drawdowns will be made on the loan note facility for the foreseeable future, to ensure the company holds sufficient cash to settle creditors as they fall due.

“As a result of these considerations, the directors continue to adopt the going concern basis of accounting in preparing the financial statements.”

Despite its confidence that the company would survive these challenges last week, on 1 August, Saints Transport called in the administrators.

A request for comment to both the company and the administrators has yet to receive a response.