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Airline passengers stranded

Article from: The Courier-Mail

James McCullough and Rosemary Odgers

January 30, 2009 12:21pm

REGIONAL airline MacAir was this morning placed in receivership by its bankers Suncorp Metway - leaving passengers stranded at airports around the state.

Suncorp is owed about $10 million with unsecured creditors such as BP and Shell owed an estimated $4 million.

Jonathan McLeod of McLeod Partners was appointed voluntary administrator on Thursday night by MacAir owner Terry Byrt and Justin Walsh of Ernst & Young was appointed receiver by the bank this morning.

Have you been affected by the MacAir crisis? Tell us

Mr Walsh said he had no option but to ground all eight planes in the fleet although the total staff of about 200 would retain their jobs in the meantime.

His priority was to go through the company and line it up for a buyer, ideally another airline group.

"We have already had some good interest this morning from another aviation group," he told couriermail.com.au.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser today said the government was taking steps to ensure regional services remained, but insisted there would be no bailout package.

He said MacAir had systemic issues and the government would instead contract other providers to fill any gaps to services before a new tender process could occur.

"Our interest here is making sure flights are available for regional Queenslanders, not the interests of the MacAir business owners," he told reporters in Brisbane.

Over the past few months, Queensland Transport has received numerous complaints about delays, cancellations or the non-arrival of scheduled flights.

And MacAir itself expressed concerns over fulfilling all of its services.

The situation came to a head last week when the government announced MacAir would vary its contract with the government, meaning a new open tender for the air services would be called after two months.

MacAir asked the government for a $7 million one-off ex gratia payment, not linked to performance, which was refused.

Suncorp is owed about $10 million with unsecured creditors such as BP and Shell owed an estimated $4 million.

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Have Your Say

Latest Comments:

The CM today reported that MacAir held a 'lucrative' contract. Obviously it wasn't.

Posted by: Alf of Carindale 11:51am today

To all those Mac Air staff, I feel for you as I have been through it all before when Ansett collapsed i n 2001. No one is interested in the little people if they did nothing to help Ansett Airlines with its 16000 staff. I have one thing to say , DO NOT GIVE UP you are marketable ,remember the good times and get on with your life!

Posted by: Sandra Nelson Wu of Brisbane 10:06pm January 30, 2009

After living in Mount Isa the past three years and knowing how far it and other areas (Normanton, Doomadgee and Mornington Island to name a few) are from the coast, this will hurt local people badly. Our friend Bill Grieve eluded to include the 15,000 other non-mining employees which include Police, Teachers, Ambulance officers, Fireies and 'local people' who looked forward to getting on a plane and flying to Townsville or Cairns for a holiday, to watch a footy match, or for treatment at a coastal hospital. Bill - the community of Mornington Island has one way off the Island.....you guessed it......MacAir!!! Their demise will hurt a lot of other people and lets not forget its employees who no longer have a job!

Posted by: Damien Ahearn of Townsville 9:48pm January 30, 2009

Bill, Comment 1. Why would Qantas or any other airline want to take over Macair's routes? The big airlines pulled out of this unprofitable milk run type of flying as there is no money to be made, even with govt subsidies. In fact, the larger airlines would probably be content to fly between Sydney and Melbourne only. Deregulation allows business to provide services only where there is money to be made, without obligation to provide anything to rural or isolated communities.

Posted by: roscoe of 9:22pm January 30, 2009

How many flights could Anna Blight have taken on this airline instead of her taxpayer funded private jet?

Posted by: Dave of Brisbane 8:46pm January 30, 2009

Bravo to "Sympathetic Local of Queensland", you at least can walk a mile in someone elses shoes!!! I am extremely disappointed by the majority of comments made here. Most have no idea of the causes of the Macair delays. No airline or staff member wants that to happen, and many times it was beyond the control of staff. And to say the service was terrible is a slap in the face to the flight crews, particularly those on flights where the crew were acting as flight attendants, refuellers, baggage handlers, company representative, in 40+heat, on $50k per year....oh and also acting as pilots on a high-performance prop-jet with passengers in the back seat!! And now those crews may all be out of work, meaning that most, including their spouses and children, will have to find a job and a home in another state, or maybe even another country. But don't worry about all that, the govt couldn't help Macair out, but now they can fully fund another company to do the work. To all those who think Macair did badly, just wait and see how some new company with no aircraft and no infrastructure will do....you aint seen noth'n yet!!!

Posted by: A Pilot of Brisbane 8:34pm January 30, 2009

When the bubble has burst quality counts. No one gave a stuff when money was growing on trees or falling from the sky. People would put up with utter crap for the convenience of not having to search for alternatives. This is only the beginning of the chaff being sorted from the hay.

Posted by: J L of Brisbane 8:29pm January 30, 2009
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