Regional carrier Jetgo enters voluntary administration, all RPT flights cancelled

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 1, 2018

Regional carrier Jetgo has suspended all regular public transport (RPT) flights and entered into voluntary administration.

Jetgo announced on Friday McLeod and Partners’ Jonathan Paul McLeod and Bill Karageozis had been appointed joint administrators of the company.

“JETGO Australia will continue limited Charter Operations, however, all Regular Passenger Transport (RPT)
scheduled services are suspended for the duration of the administration period,” a message on the airline’s Facebook page said.

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Qantas said it was offering special fares to those holding bookings for travel on Jetgo between June 1 and June 30 on an “equivalent Qantas route to assist customers get to or from their destination as planned”.

Customers could contact Qantas on 1300 659 116 or staff at airport sales desks to book, the airline said on its website.

Similarly, Virgin Australia said on its website passengers affected by the Jetgo cancellations could call its guest contact centre on 07 3119 7019 to discuss available options.

And the administrators said on the Jetgo website customers could also contact their credit card provider to “consider your options with respect to a refund of your ticket purchase”.

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Jetgo's first RPT flight flown by an Embraer ERJ 135, lands at Gladstone Airport. (Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers/Facebook)
Jetgo’s first RPT flight flown by an Embraer ERJ 135, lands at Gladstone Airport. (Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers/Facebook)

Jetgo began life as primarily a charter and fly-in/fly-out operator.

However, in 2014 it applied for and was granted from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) a high capacity jet RPT air operator’s certificate (AOC), allowing it to commence scheduled airline services.
Its RPT network consisted of nine destinations in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria and was served with an all-Embraer fleet 37-seat ERJ-135LRs and 44-seat ERJ-140LR regional jets.

The Jetgo route map from its website. (Jetgo)
The Jetgo route map from its website. (Jetgo)

The airline was also planning to launch international flights later in 2018 with Embraer E190s as part of a Brisbane-Karratha-Singapore routing.

The proposed service was being undertaken in partnership with the City of Karratha, which said on Friday it was in “discussions with JetGo regarding the potential impact of this announcement”.

“It isn’t 100 per cent clear how this is going to affect our proposed Karratha to Brisbane and Singapore services in the short, medium and long term,” the City of Karratha said in a statement on its Facebook page.

“We understand that JetGo are seeking to recapitalise and restructure the company and are in active discussions with a number of potential investors.

“We’ll work closely with JetGo and Administrators over the coming weeks and provide updates as we can.”

The City of Karratha said it remained committed to delivering increased air transport options for local residents.

The move to appoint voluntary administrators comes after Dubbo Regional Council took legal action in the NSW Supreme Court to recoup what it said were unpaid debts totalling some $270,000.

The council stated the decision to lodge a winding up application after months of negotiations was a final step “in order to get a result for the community in respect of significant and increasing unpaid debts owed by Jetgo”.

“Dubbo Regional Council has acted responsibly to recover the amounts outstanding for ratepayers,” it said in a statement on Friday.

“If allowed to continue, the significant mounting debt had potential to significantly affect Council’s budget and its ability to provide services to the community.”

Jetgo managing director for airlines Paul Brederick told the Illawarra Mercury on May 24 the dispute with the council was over the calculation of passenger taxes for the airline using Dubbo Regional Airport.

The matter was due to be heard on June 18 2018.

The airline flies to Dubbo from Melbourne Essendon and Brisbane airports.

Melbourne Essendon Airport chief executive Chris Cowan said he was hopeful of getting a new airline to serve the Dubbo and Illawarra Regional Airport routes – that were operated by Jetgo – “sooner rather than later”.

“We remain confident of the viability of both routes,” Cowan said in a statement.

“Both routes are popular with pax and the numbers confirm the route is certainly profitable and has potential to grow in the short term.

“We recognise the vision of Jetgo as pioneers of both routes and prove the demand exists for both services. However the recent interruption to services have held back growth of the service. We are also conscious that many small businesses and aviation service providers will be impacted by losses as a result of the collapse of Jetgo.”

Shellharbour City Council said in response to the airline entering voluntary administration it had decided terminate its service level agreement Jetgo, effective immediately.

Further, it was working to reinstate services as quickly as possible.

“We have proven that there is sustainable and reliable demand from business and leisure travellers for an airline service from our airport to Essendon Fields Airport in Melbourne,” Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said in a statement on Friday.

“Unfortunately the operations of Jetgo’s commercial enterprise are not within Council’s control.”

14 Comments

  • D Bell

    says:

    The demise of jetgo, was in many way predictable. Tamair faced similar issues in the mid 90’s. It is a sad fact that the small operators do seem to be able to build into any thing sustainable, with a few exceptions and those that have ultimately get bought out by the big 2. There needs to be a re-think on these smaller operators, because, they do offer services that QF and VA simply do not want to touch, yet take predatory action if they little guys even look like trying to break even. Bit like the big banks in many respects. The big guys MUST leave the little guys to develop so we do have a successful tier three RPT passenger network in this country.

  • James

    says:

    Poor buggers. All the best to the crews and other employees. Hope they land new gigs soon.

  • James

    says:

    No interline connections is what kills the little ones. And their airfares.

  • Peter

    says:

    Who will jump into the Gong? Fly Corporate, Rex, Qlink, Alliance………

  • Rocket

    says:

    I’m sad to hear this but it does beg the question whether people who start these ventures do any research at all of past failures… I looked at them to take the kids to the WLG HARS Museum and they were damn expensive. Almost cheaper to fly on QF and rent a car for one day or half a day from one of the cheap rental companies.

  • James

    says:

    @ Peter

    Pretty sure QF had a red hot go of it years ago with mainly 200 series Dash’s. Doubt they’d go again.

  • pete

    says:

    Would be good to see these smaller ERJ’s become part of AirNorth fleet out of Darwin

  • Deano969

    says:

    Rocket
    One would expect to pay a bit of a premium on a low volume route
    That said, you state that difference was less than a cheap hire car (perhaps $100.00) over 3 seats (you and kids)
    I would hardly call that “damn expensive”

  • Rocket

    says:

    @ Dean0969

    I looked it up and it was over $200 one way… at the time I looked, Qantas were $89 each way… plus about $50 for a hire car (I did say from one of the cheaper outfits). That’s $500 from start to finish versus, I think it was well over $300 each round trip… or about $900… that’s nearly double (the kids are all considered adults now, although that doesn’t matter on a red-e-deal).

  • Corey

    says:

    How much debt are they in for this to even happen?? Also, would it be worthwhile for a major airline to say Qantas or Vergin to buy a part of the company and give it a helping hand to ensure it can survive on its own??

  • Peter

    says:

    Sad. I’ve used them from Dubbo to Melbourne.
    Convenient especially when train only connects thrice weekly from Mel. . Cost was not excessive considering the costs these regional airlines have to suffer from the greedy councils. They want tourism but deter it. Its much easier for large carrirs to distribute costs with large amount of pax. If Qf can operate well with qf links smaller aicraft why cant they operate some of the routes. I use the syd/mrz service with Qf and they do ok and are appreciated by the township. Sure, cost is a factor but how else do you get in and out . Book early and QF have good fares. If not on buisness research days and times. Youl’d be surprised. But of course they benefit with on line connections. Thats why Pan Am went down aftter dereg on Trams Atlantic flts and had little online feed. Only my opinion..

  • AlanH

    says:

    I agree with D Bell. I also blame the privatisation of airports, and their charges, supported by greedy councils who want the services for their constituents but aren’t ready to meet them halfway. Tier 3 airlines need to be better catered for in this country. Governments just don’t get it. Better to support small independent regionals than stump up for a VFT over the vast empty distances that need to be covered in this wide brown land. This is why Rex gave up servicing CBR … the costs didn’t make that route viable in a 34-seat Saab 340. Let’s hope FlyPelican can keep the CBR-DBO and CBR-NTL services going.

  • Mac Carter

    says:

    Very sad day for regional Australia, to loose a reliable jet service is tragic.
    Hopefully some entity will pick up the Jetgo routes and continue to service with jet equipment.
    Propeller driven aircraft wont cut it for regional services.

  • TD

    says:

    Yes its a sad day for all involved. Isnt it time the boys got a helping hand somehow and continue. Use the data and prioritise a major review (by a team of can do financial and aviation gurus) or overhaul with some cash and reworked schedules etc. After all the company has tried to fill a needed gap and services for the local communities that need it. Wheres the aussie spirit to make it a winner?

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