Why this CEO wants to save SkyMall

Scott Jordan wants to save the in-flight catalog SkyMall, but right now the airlines are not returning his calls, he told CNBC on Monday.

SkyMall filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year and Jordan, CEO of ScotteVest, plans to bid for its assets during an auction later this month.

"SkyMall's value is entirely dependent, in my opinion, upon deals with all the airlines and unfortunately most if not all the airline contracts with SkyMall have expired or are up for renewal/renegotiation," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

"Without the airlines we have nothing. Without the airlines, SkyMall is valueless."

Skymall magazine
Source: SkyMall

While it's impossible to renegotiate deals prior to the auction date, Jordan said he's reached out to the airlines to understand how receptive they are going to be to renewing those contracts. Only one company, American Airlines, has returned his calls, he said.

Jordan wants to revitalize the catalog, which he said wasn't talking to people sitting on the plane.

"They are captive and they are traveling from someplace or to someplace and they're either traveling for personal purposes or for business purposes. But there was nothing about magazine that spoke to those people."

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Founded in 1989, SkyMall said it sold more than 30,000 products, which it called "cool stuff," including novelty items ranging from personalized socks to dog beds to a $2,499 football helmet signed by Notre Dame players and coaches.

The company blamed changing consumer habits and the loss of contracts with Delta and Southwest when it filed for Chapter 11 protection. In a court filing, Chief Financial Officer Scott Wiley said travelers spent less time browsing catalogs and more time on their smartphones and laptops.

However Jordan, whose company ScotteVest was an advertiser in the catalog, called those devices "distractions" that run out of battery power.

"People crave to touch a real catalog because they're not doing it anymore," he said.

Jordan said he's prepared to offer the airlines more than 1 percent of the gross profit.

"Because they're providing all the access to the passengers, they're going to get the lion's share of the profit and we just need an opportunity to sit down with them and explain that to them," he said.

—Reuters contributed to this report.