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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Ansett returns from bankruptcy
Qantas and Ansett planes on the tarmac
Some of Ansett's planes will fly again this weekend
Ansett's aircraft will soon be revving their engines again, two weeks after they were grounded after the debt ridden airline went bust.


Clearly, we as administrators believe we can enhance the value of the airline with our planes flying


Mark Mentha
Andersen
Five of its aircraft should return to service the Sydney to Melbourne route this weekend after the government agreed to underwrite ticket sales for up to 25m Australian dollars (US$12.2m, 8.3m).

"If you fly with Ansett over the next twelve weeks, you will either be carried on the airline or you will receive a full refund," said trade minister and deputy prime minister John Anderson.

Six more aeroplanes should be added later to fly other routes.

Break even

The administrators said the debt-ridden airline's resumed service should break even and may make a profit.


Getting the initial five A320 aircraft back in the air, followed by another six, dovetails into our plans to get around 40 mainline aircraft back into the air

Graeme McMahon
Ansett staff adviser
Break even will be reached when 62% of the seats are filled, said Mark Mentha of administrators Andersen.

"Clearly, we as administrators believe we can enhance the value of the airline with our planes flying," said Mr Mentha.

Low cost

Australia's formerly second largest airline will be reborn as a low cost airline, employing just less than a tenth of its previous 16,000 strong workforce.

The partial and temporary fix was welcomed by a pilot-led group of Ansett staff.

"Getting the initial five A320 aircraft back in the air, followed by another six, dovetails into our plans to get around 40 mainline aircraft back into the air," staff adviser Graeme McMahon said.

For sale

Talks with possible buyers of Ansett have been ongoing ever since it went into voluntary administration two weeks ago.

These talks will continue.

In addition, the administrators have called for several planes to be handed back to their owners, including Singapore Airlines, to slash expenses.

And Sir Richard Branson's rival airline Virgin Blue is negotiating a lease of Ansett planes.

"It is a buyer's market at the moment," said Virgin Blue's commercial manager, David Huttner.

Competition

Virgin Blue has previously complained that a rescue of Ansett in effect blocks Sir Richard's airline's ability to compete.

This was dismissed by Mr Anderson, the trade minister.

Ansett's assets are worth about $500m Australian dollars and this should be enough to pay the airline's workers, the administrator said.

Investigation

On Wednesday, New Zealand's regulatory watchdog launched a probe into irregular trading in the company's shares earlier this week.

Shares in the Ansett parent were suspended on Wednesday after the New Zealand prime minister told small shareholders to hang on to their stock.

"This inquiry will cover the effects on the market of various annoucements and disclosures concerning Air NZ and the role of market participants and others in the period leading up to the resumption of trading on Wednesday," the Securities Commission said.

See also:

17 Sep 01 | Business
Ansett administrator quits
16 Sep 01 | Business
Ansett workers offered some hope
14 Sep 01 | Business
Protests as Australia airline fails
12 Sep 01 | Business
Aussie airline rescue fails
11 Sep 01 | Business
Qantas poised for airline deal
01 May 01 | Business
Airlines clash down under
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