Pemco World Air Services’ 30 largest unsecured creditors together are owed more than $12.2 million, according to documents included in the airframe maintenance, repair and overhaul provider’s Chapter 11 petition filed this week in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Pemco, which also is a significant provider of passenger-to-freighter conversions, particularly in the narrowbody market, owes another $31.8 million in secured debt to Avion Services Holdings, LCC, which is maneuvering to buy Pemco and its assets. Avion and Pemco are controlled by the same investor group.

The unsecured creditor with the largest claim is China-based Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co. (STAECO), an airframe MRO and conversion facility to which Pemco sends some of its passenger-to-freighter conversion work under a partnership set up in early 2005. According to court documents, STAECO is owed just over $2 million for outsource contract services.

In one of the many motions Pemco filed in its Chapter 11 petition, the MRO specifically requested that it be allowed to pay the pre-Chapter 11 claims of its foreign vendors, up to an aggregate cap of $2 million. “The debtors believe there is a significant risk that the non-payment of even a single invoice could cause a foreign vendor to stop shipping goods to the debtors on a timely basis or to sever completely its business relationship with the debtors,” Pemco CFO Benjamin Ward says in a filing.

Late Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath approved the request on an interim basis until a final hearing on the matter can be held April 4. In the order, Walrath says payments of claims to foreign vendors shall not exceed, in aggregate, $1 million during the interim period.

Boeing also is owed a significant amount of money, including $1.1 million for royalty fees, likely on the data and other Boeing intellectual property that Pemco uses in its conversion and MRO businesses. Pemco has long specialized in Boeing 737-300 and -400 conversions to full freighters and to combi configurations. Boeing also is owed more than $812,000 for hardware parts and equipment.