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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Vanguard Airlines, an 8-year-old carrier that has struggled to become profitable, plans to file for bankruptcy, the city's aviation director said.

``I was told by a senior executive that Vanguard would be declaring bankruptcy tomorrow,'' Russell Widmar said late Monday, adding that he expected to ``get a fairly good briefing'' sometime Tuesday.

Company spokesman Alan Carr, reached at his home, said, ``I can't tell you anything.''

At the company's headquarters in suburban Mission, Kan., a recorded message said all circuits were busy. The airline's Web site was blank, save for a link to Frontier Airlines.

A telephone message left Monday night for David Rescino, Vanguard's chief financial officer, by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.

One of the start-up carriers that proliferated nationwide in the 1990s, Vanguard was operating 32 flights a day out of its Kansas City base in late June.

Its most recent schedules listed 18 cities, including Kansas City, Atlanta, Austin, Buffalo/Niagra Falls, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Myrtle Beach, S.C. New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Fla., Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle.

The carrier has a fleet of six Boeing 737s and seven MD-80s.

The company had sought a government-backed loan under a program created to help the industry recover from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but was denied, despite reducing its initial request from $60 million to $13.5 million.

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On the Net:

http://www.flyvanguard.com