Control of Regent Air Sold to Private N.Y. Tour Firm

Times Staff Writer

Control of Regent Air, the luxury airline that has not made a profit since it began its Los Angeles-Newark flights in October, 1983, has been sold to a private New York tour company, the airline announced Wednesday.

Regent Chairman J. Roger Faherty, who succeeded founder Clifford Perlman in July, 1984, sold a 55% controlling block of stock to newly formed Regent Tours International Inc., the airline said. Preston Tsao, 39, a principal of Regent Tours and a New York lawyer and investment banker, replaced Faherty, 45, as chairman, it said.

Faherty recently became executive vice president of D. H. Blair & Co., investment bankers.

Los Angeles-based Regent Air and Regent Tours declined to release the terms of the sale agreement. Regent Air spokesman Jeff Ruffolo also said he did not know who owns Regent Tours, which was described in the statement as "providing consulting and arranging financing for various companies in the transportation industry."

Regent Air, whose cumulative losses recently were reported at $38 million, had said in September that it had agreed to sell its operating assets to an unidentified investor group.

Asked Wednesday why the investors of Regent Tours were not identified at the time, Ruffolo said: "They asked not to be identified. We have no secrets." He added that the names will be supplied soon.

Perlman and his brother, Stuart, who were principals at Caesars Palace hotel-casino in Las Vegas, had sold their interests in Regent after their past business dealings with alleged associates of the late Miami underworld figure Meyer Lansky continued to cause them licensing troubles with federal regulators. In response to a question, Ruffolo said the Perlmans still hold the main debt of Regent Air.

Regent recently said it will add weekly round-trips by Boeing 747 jet between New York and Honolulu starting the week of March 1. It said Wednesday that it also plans to expand service to Hawaii from other mainland cities soon.

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