Financial services company Arthur Andersen, administrator of the bankrupt Australian airline Ansett, plans to sell three of the company's regional subsidiaries - Kendell Airlines, Aeropelican and Skywest.

Five potential Kendell bidders have started due diligence procedures, and Arthur Andersen says it expects the sale of the entire operation to be finalised by 31 January. Until its grounding by the Ansett collapse, Kendell was Australia's biggest regional carrier, with a total aircraft fleet of 33 Bombardier CRJ200s, Saab 340s and Fairchild Metro 23s on regional routes.

Bids for Ansett's former Western Australia regional carrier Skywest include an offer from mining magnate Kerry Stokes. Skywest operates five Fokker 50s out of Perth.

Arthur Andersen is also reviewing a number of bids for Aeropelican, which flies four de Havilland Canada Twin Otters between Newcastle and Sydney, and expects a sale to be finalised before the end of the year.

Most of the regional airlines affected by the Ansett collapse are continuing operations on a diminished basis with the support of federal government loans and subsidies.

Source: Flight International