Ansett ceases operations

Australian airline Ansett ceased operations on the morning of 14 September. Ansett, Australia’s second-largest airline, is owned by Air New Zealand, and has been losing over A$1 million a day. The airline entered voluntary administration on 12 September, when Air New Zealand — who faces its own financial problems — cut off support after several efforts to sell all or part of the airline fell through. Singapore Airlines was long considered a prime candidate to buy part of Ansett, but the New Zealand government refused it permission to increase its 25% stake in Air New Zealand. A deal with new low-cost airline Virgin Blue was also mooted, but spurned by Sir Richard Branson. Desperate to avoid the loss of Ansett, the Australian government even entreated arch-competitor Qantas to acquire Ansett. Negotiations with several potential buyers continue. Most are likely to only be interested in Ansett’s trunk routes, however, rather than the airline’s regional routes. Ansett was one of the oldest BAe 146 operator, having acquired two series 200s in 1985. At the time of the shutdown, the airline operated seven series 200s on regional routes in western Australia, and three series 300s on routes in eastern Australia. Its Ansett Cargo subsidiary operated two series 200QT freighters (Ansett sold its Ansett Air Freight subsidiary to TNT in 1999, but kept the 146QTs under the Ansett Cargo name).

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