Australian carrier OzJet has gone into voluntary administration and is trying to maintain its charter contracts by turning to other airlines to do the work.

"The company was placed into administration by the airline's chairman on Wednesday" 20 May, OzJet CEO, Willie O'Neill, tells ATI referring to OzJet chairman Nicholas Leach. Leach is also CEO of HeavyLift Cargo Airlines, which bought OzJet in May 2008 from Paul Stoddart, the former owner of the Minardi Formula One race team.

"The [charter] contracts [OzJet] has are still operating but we have to use third party" airlines to maintain the services, says O'Neill.

He confirms Alliance Airlines Fokker 100s are now being used to maintain OzJet's services from Perth to Derby in Western Australia but he declines to say which third-party airlines are being used for its services from Perth to Bali Denpasar and Perth to Christmas Island.

O'Neill says the administrator is Peter Ngan, of Sydney accounting firm Ngan & Co, who is trying to sell OzJet.

A report in The Australian newspaper says OzJet's owners put the airline in administration after Perth Airport refused to continue handling OzJet.

The report quotes Perth Airport chief executive Brad Geatches as saying OzJet had arrears amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

OzJet had broken "dozens of promises" and it had become a significant credit risk after parent HeavyLift had told the airport it would no longer support the airline, says Geatches.

OzJet has a fleet of four Boeing 737-200s and O'Neill had earlier told ATI the carrier hopes to upgrade its fleet with newer aircraft.

A spokesman for Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) also tells ATI today that OzJet earlier this year looked at becoming a cargo airline.

"They approached us and asked about that ...they gave us some paperwork" and "we said 'fine' but we need a lot more from you."

"They never made an application and later told us they are not going ahead with it so to suggest we blocked it, is wrong," says the CASA spokesman, responding to reports that CASA blocked OzJet's plan.

He says if OzJet is sold the new owners will need to get CASA's approval in order for the airline's air operator's certificate to remain valid.

OzJet is based in Melbourne and is the third Australian airline to go into administration this year after SkyAirWorld and MacAir.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news