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Stranded Air Australia pax heading home as creditors circle

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 20, 2012

Air Australia creditors will meet on Wednesday to decide whether to liquidate the failed budget carrier.

Creditors of Air Australia will meet on Wednesday to decide whether to liquidate the failed airline, but it appears likely there will be little to salvage after the carrier collapsed last week.

Since Air Australia leased its aircraft and facilities, its few remaining assets would probably be limited to its air operator’s certificate, its engineering operation in Brisbane and a few odds and ends such as computer software and even its name.

Meanwhile, many of the 4000 passengers stuck overseas after the budget carrier collapsed early Friday morning remain in limbo, though some began arriving in Australia this weekend. Jetstar sent a supplementary A320 flight to Phuket yesterday to pick up stranded passengers, and a number of carriers including the Qantas Group, Virgin Australia and Hawaiian Airlines have offered discounted “rescue” fares to those affected by Air Australia’s collapse.

The airline’s 300 employees also face an uncertain future, with talks underway between administrators and the federal government over paying out superannuation and redundancy entitlements under the General Employment Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme. Employee wages were reportedly up to date then the airline collapsed, though some employees have gone public claiming they’d been underpaid.

Air Australia, which relaunched as a budget carrier late last year, was placed into voluntary administration after it was unable to pay for fuel for a flight out of Phuket. The carrier had been in financial trouble for some time, and could now be the subject of questions from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission as to whether it was operating while insolvent.

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