Collapsed airline's aircraft, headquarters and maintenance base are up for auction

A liquidation sale of Ansett's assets will start on 12 March following the 66-year-old airline's collapse a week earlier. Ansett ceased flying on 4 March after the Tesna consortium withdrew its bid for the airline late last month (Flight International, 5-11 March).

Of the 82 mainline aircraft, only 29 were owned by Ansett, with the remainder under finance or operating leases. Owned aircraft include 11 BAe 146-300s, five BAe 146-100s, five Boeing 767-200s and several smaller regional aircraft, including Fokker F28s, already de-commissioned because of new noise regulations.

Ansett's corporate headquarters, an 11-storey building in central Melbourne, valued at A$30-35 million ($16-18.5 million), will also go under the hammer. The carrier's maintenance base at Melbourne airport, in which Qantas has shown an interest, could fetch A$15-20 million; other Melbourne airport infrastructure, spare engines, rotable parts and consumables are possibly worth A$100 million. Ansett also has leases on terminal facilities at airports including Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Meanwhile, Aeropelican Air Services, the formerly Ansett-owned intercity shuttle operating between Sydney and neighbouring Newcastle, has been acquired from the Ansett and Aeropelican administrators for an undisclosed sum by IAP, a Sydney-based airline operator. IAP's Horizon Airlines operates 10 BAe 748s and Fairchild Metros on cargo and charter airline services for Australian Air Express, a joint venture between Qantas and Australia Post. Horizon intends to rebuild Aeropelican, which operates five de Havilland Twin Otters.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) says it has no realistic prospect of prosecuting former Ansett directors, most of whom were Air New Zealand (ANZ) board members, for breach of their general duties of care or insolvent trading. ASIC, which has been investigating the Ansett collapse since last September, says factors contributing to its conclusion include steps taken by Ansett directors to obtain financial support from ANZ, including a non-binding assurance of funds for A$400 million for working capital commitments last August. ASIC says it will now investigate whether ANZ adequately informed the market of Ansett's financial position.

Source: Flight International