|5 March 2002
||The last commercial Ansett flight, from Perth, landed at Sydney
airport at 6:42 am.
||'Last Ansett commercial flight lands in Sydney', AAP, 5 March
|27 February 2002
||Messrs Fox and Lew blame the collapse of the sale of Ansett to
Tesna on their inability to reach agreement with third parties on
issues principally related to the transfer of domestic airport
terminal leases. Contract requirements for the transfer of leases
at Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to Tesna could
not be finalised in time. Serious issues remained unresolved
including those relating to environmental risk and the use of
Ansett's IATA designator code. Tesna says that the collapse of the
talks with Virgin Blue were not to blame. Messrs Fox and Lew also
deny that Tesna did not have the finance to complete the deal and
say that key US investors supported them until the end.
In a flurry of recriminations, the Prime Minister, Hon. John
Howard, says that he is disappointed with the decision and feels
sorry for Ansett staff but says that the Government is not to
blame. The Federal Transport Minister, Hon. John Anderson, demands
a full explanation from Tesna. ACTU secretary, Mr Greg Combet, says
that the decision is a tragedy. Administrator Mr Mark Korda,
defends the decision to back the Tesna bid, saying that Tesna was
the only option at the time to keep Ansett in business and was in
the best interest of creditors. The administrators say that they
offered Tesna more time to finalise the sale before Tesna withdrew.
Airport operators deny that they are to blame for the collapse of
the sale and say that they were prepared to work with Tesna.
The administrators say that they will resume talks with other
potential buyers including Virgin Blue, Patrick Corporation and
Patrick Corporation says that the offer it put to the
administrators remains current.
'Fox and Lew ditch Ansett', Australian Financial Review,
28 February 2002, pp. 1 and 10.
'Ansett sale to Tesna off - official', AAP, 27 February
'Tesna says Virgin talks not to blame for Ansett deal collapse',
AAP, 27 February 2002.
'Aust PM Howard calls for explanations over Tesna bid
withdrawal', AAP, 27 February 2002.
'Ansett administrators say to look at other bidders', AAP, 27
'Administrators perplexed by end of Tesna deal', AAP, 27
'Fox and Lew regret failure of Tesna's Ansett bid', AAP, 27
"Fox and Lew blame airports for Ansett deal collapse', AAP, 27
'Sydney Airport rejects Tesna criticism of delays', Sydney Airport
media release, 28 February 2002.
"Patrick Corp says last year's offer for Ansett remains
current', AAP, 27 February 2002.
|26 February 2002
||Tesna reportedly still has to finalise funding arrangements
after potential lenders decline to back Tesna's business plan. The
report says that two major retail banks and an investment bank
rejected Tesna's request for funding. But sources close to Tesna
say that approaches to potential lenders were to make refinements
to financing and that funding for the acquisition of Ansett are in
Sydney Airports Corporation Limited says that it has formally
agreed to transfer the lease at the Sydney Ansett terminal to
Tesna says that it has undertaken to provide documents that the
Civil Aviation Safety Authority needs.
At 6 pm, Messrs Fox and Lew tell the administrators that they
have withdrawn their offer to buy Ansett.
'Airport lease in place but Tesna still faces hurdles',
Australian Financial Review, 27 February 2002, p. 3.
'Fox and Lew ditch Ansett', Australian Financial Review,
28 February 2002, pp. 1 and 10.
|25 February 2002
||The administrators say that they are struggling to finalise
agreements before the deadline for the sale of Ansett.
Sydney Airports Corporation Limited says that it is ready to
sign the documentation transfering the lease to Tesna but would
wait until Tesna is ready to settle the acquisition with the
Tesna is reportedly still in dispute with the operators of other
airports because Tesna is refusing to assume responsibility for
environmental, safety and other liabilities associated with
Ansett's terminal leases.
'Ansett struggles to meet deadline', Australian Financial
Review, 26 February 2002, p. 7.
|24 February 2002
||Tesna's plans to buy Ansett look increasingly at risk.
Spokesmen for Sydney Airports Corporation Limited and the Civil
Aviation Safety Authority say that they have yet to seal crucial
agreements with Tesna before the administrator's deadline (Thursday
28 February 2002) for the sale of Ansett. Tesna reportedly also
faces many legal hurdles before it can finalise leases on 16 A320
'Virgin's plans put Ansett on brink', Australian Financial
Review, 25 February 2002, pp.1 and 4.
|22 February 2002
||Talks between Tesna and Virgin Blue fail, increasing doubts
about the sale of Ansett to Tesna.
A newspaper reports speculation that Tesna's financing might be
in jeopardy. But sources close to Tesna say that while
"refinements" were being made, its financing is not in
'Virgin's plans put Ansett on brink', Australian Financial
Review, 25 February 2002, pp.1 and 4.
'Tesna, Virgin talks are in the balance', Australian Financial
Review, 23-4 February 2002, p. 7.
|21 February 2002
||The administrators say that the delay in concluding the sale of
Ansett to Tesna is due to third parties.
'Dogfight looms as Qantas hit', Australian Financial
Review, 22 February 2002, pp. 1 and 56.
|20 February 2002
||The Global Rewards Action Group, which represents some holders
of Ansett frequent flyer points, says that members could sue the
administrators if the point holders fail to receive adequate
compensation from the sale of Ansett assets. Spokesman for the
group, Mr John Caneva, says that the value of the points is 10
times the $140 million that the administrators placed on them.
||'Angry Ansett flyers may seek pay-back from administrtors',
AAP, 20 February 2002.
|19 February 2002
||Tesna releases its proposed frequent flyer progam. The program
does not redeem frequent flyer points but recognises former Global
Rewards sapphire, platinum and diamond members by awarding bonus
points and complimentary membership of the new program.
'Tesna seeks to win back corporate frequent flyers',Australian
Financial Review, 20 February 2002, p. 9.
|17 February 2002
||In an attempt to regain some the business market, Tesna
announces a plan to restore and extend all Ansett Golden Wing
memberships by six months at no charge.
'Tesna bid to win back corporate market', Australian Financial
Review, 18 February 2002, p. 3.
|15 February 2002
||Tesna reaches in-principle agreement with Sydney Airports
Corporation Limited regarding Tesna's takeover of the lease on the
terminal at Kingsford Smith airport. An SACL spokesman says that
Tesna has undertaken to enter "good faith negotiations with third
parties on commercial terms" to rent unused space to other
operators. Tesna has yet to reach agreement over the leases at the
other major airports.
'Terminal deal clears the way in Sydney', Australian Financial
Review, 1-17 February 2002, p. 4.
'Agreement in-principle reached on Ansett Sydney terminal lease',
SACL news release, 15 February 2002.
|14 February 2002
||Unions express concern over the delay in selling Ansett. The
unions are concerned that with Ansett unprofitable, a failure of
the sale would erode funds to meet employee entitlements.
The administrator of Hazelton Airlines, Mr Humphris, announces
that Hazelton will cease flights from Sydney to Canberra, Albury
and Wagga Wagga. Mr Humphris attributes the decision to Qantas's
increasing capacity, making the routes unviable. But Qantas says
that it increased capacity in response to urging by Federal and
State governments, the tourism industry, and business.
'Union ultimatum on Ansett', Australian Financial Review,
15 February 2002, p. 3.
'Qantas squeezes out regional operators', AAP, 14 February
|13 February 2002
||Tesna gives to Sydney Airports Corporation Limited (SACL) some
of the information SACL requested relating to the charge over
Ansett's lease on the terminal at Kingsford Smith airport.
'Tesna meets call for facts', Australian Financial Review,
14 February 2002, p. 7.
|12 February 2002
||The Federal Government refuses to support the sale of Ansett
while Tesna does not reveal to Sydney Airports Corporation Limited
the terms of the agreement whereby Tesna pledged the Kingsford
Smith airport teminal as security for Tesna employee entitlements.
The Federal Court refuses to approve the administrator's
decision to continue to operate Ansett pending finalisation of the
sale of Ansett to Tesna. The administrators say they will continue
to operate Ansett despite the Court's decision.
'Ansett deal hit by double whammy', Australian Financial
Review, 13 February 2002, pp.1 and 8.
|11 February 2002
||Canberra Airport files proceedings in the Federal Court to
regain control of Ansett's terminal and convert it to a 'common
use' terminal after lease negotiations break down. The Managing
Director of Canberra Airport, Mr Stephen Byron, says that Ansett is
in default of its lease terms and owes rent.
Tesna and Sir Richard Branson release a statement that Tesna is
committed to buying Ansett regardless of the outcome of the
discussions between Tesna and Mr Branson.
'Canberra Airport sues Ansett', Australian Financial
Review, 12 February 2002, p. 3.
|10 February 2002
||It is revealed that the principals of Tesna, Messrs Fox and
Lew, are meeting the principal of Virgin Blue, Sir Richard Branson,
raising speculation as to the nature of their discussions.
Administrator, Mr Mark Korda, says that the 28 February 2002
deadline for completion of the sale of Ansett to Tesna would not be
Messrs Fox and Lew sign a $3 billion memorandum of understanding
with Airbus Industrie to bring forward the delivery of 30 new A320
and A321 jets from the second half of 2002.
The Prime Minister, Hon. John Howard, expresses concern about
whether the sale of Ansett will proceed but says that the
Government would not intervene to save Ansett.
'Ansett buyer in crisis talks with Virgin', Australian
Financial Review, 11 February 2002, pp. 1 and 14.
|8 February 2002
||A spokesman for Sydney Airports Corporation Limited (SACL) says
that the parties are close to resolving their dispute over the
terminals at Kingsford Smith airport after the administrators
release to SACL the information that SACL requested.
'Ansett staff cut worries unions', Australian Financial
Review, 9-10 February 2002, pp. 4.
|7 February 2002
||It is revealed that Tesna is yet to finalise leasing
arrangements for a new fleet of aircraft.
A group, representing the largest unsecured creditors, claims it
was 'snowballed' into approving the sale of Ansett to Tesna by the
union movement, and expressed anger at the lack of information that
the administrators provided.
The Treasurer, Hon. Peter Costello, defends the role of Sydney
Airports Corporation Limited in its dispute with the
administrators, and urges the two parties to resolve the
Justice Goldberg of the Federal Court says that the
administrator's application does not raise any legal issues.
'Ansett woes snowball', Australian Financial Review, 8
February 2002, pp. 1 and 13.
|6 February 2002
||The Australian Securities and Investments Commission opposes
the attempt by the administrators to obtain Federal Court approval
of their decision to keep operating Ansett pending sale to Tesna.
The administrators are seeking protection against possible creditor
action against their decision. Ansett reportedly is losing about $6
Tesna announces that it would initially employ 1,000 fewer staff
than originally estimated, shifting back to the administrators
responsibility for paying employee entitlements. But the
administators say that this would not affect the payout to
unsecured creditors because they (the administrators) have made a
provision of $61 million in case Tesna should need fewer staff.
'Ansett stalls as 1,000 jobs to go', Australian Financial
Review, 7 February 2002, pp. 1 and 8.
|1 February 2002
||Lawyers acting for the administrators tell the Federal Court
that the contract for the sale of Ansett to Tesna expires on 1
February and that a new extension agreement should be finalised
soon. The lawyers are seeking the Court's approval to continue to
operate Ansett until its sale is finalised. Ansett reportedly is
losing around $6 million daily.
'Relaunch timetable takes shape', Australian Financial
Review, 2-3 February 2002, p. 4.
|30 January 2002
||Lawyers acting for the administrators threaten court action
against any party that seeks to take advantage of the delay in the
sale of Ansett to Tesna resulting from the dispute between Tesna
and Sydney Airports Corporation Limited. The lawyers are seeking to
allow the administrators to continue trading even though Ansett's
operations are unprofitable.
Administrator, Mr Mark Mentha, says that the 30 day delay to
finalising the sale of Ansett to Tesna was not definite and the
sale could be deferred again. ACTU secretary, Mr Greg Combet, says
that the 30 day delay is an absolute limit as it would erode Ansett
ACTU secretary, Mr Greg Combet, says that the ACTU has
negotiated an unprecedented deal to protect Tesna employee
entitlements by securing the entitlements over Tesna assets.
Sydney Airports Corporation Limited (SACL) says that, despite
long-standing requests to the administrator and Tesna, SACL has not
been provided with all of the vital information required to deal
appropriately with the assignment of the Ansett Sydney domestic
'Legal threats fly as Ansett's airport row escalates',
Australian Financial Review, 31 January 2002, pp.1 and
'Ansett delays could be extended', AAP, 30 January 2002.
'Ansett workers' entitlements plan unprecedent', AAP, 30 January
'Sydney Airport still awaits vital information to finalise Ansett
terminal lease deal', SACL news release, 30 January 2002.
|29 January 2002
||The meeting of creditors approves the sale of Ansett to Tesna
on a show of hands.
At the meeting, administrator, Mr Mark Korda, announces that the
settlement of the sale of Ansett to Tesna would not be completed in
time for the intended start up date of 1 February 2002 because of a
dispute with Sydney Airports Corporation Limited (SACL) over the
Ansett terminal. SACL reportedly wants to see Tesna's business
plan, and to be able to allow other airlines to use the terminal.
In particular, SACL wants to see details of Tesna's use of the
terminal as security for employee entitlements. The delay in the
sale may be 30 days.
The administrators say that Tesna has signed an agreement to
join the global airline loyalty program, Star Alliance.
The Global Rewards Action Group, which represents some holders
of frequent flyer points, says that it will delay Federal Court
action against the administrators until Tesna releases details of
its reward program. The group maintains that the administrators
have undervalued the points to the detriment of points holders.
'Airport row delays Ansett', Australian Financial Review,
30 January 2002, pp.1 and 4.
"Ansett frequent flyers delay court action", Canberra
Times, 31 January 2002.
|28 January 2002
||A newspaper report claims that the ACTU has given in-principle
support for a restructured Ansett, paving the way for creditors to
ratify its sale.
The Prime Minister, Hon. John Howard, says that the $10 levy
would stay in place and would be removed only when the Government
is satisfied that its exposure of $625 million is fully covered.
Any over-collected revenue would go to the tourism industry.
'Ansett wins key creditor backing', Australian Financial
Review, 29 January 2002, pp.1 and 4.
'Airline levy won't profit Aust govt: PM", AAP, 28 January
|25 January 2002
||Sydney Airports Corporation Limited (SACL) says that it is
"working constructively with Tesna to get Ansett into the air
again". SACL says that it "is still unable to deal with the
assignment of the lease to Tesna, as, in spite of numerous long
standing requests to the administrator, SACL has not been provided
with adequate information to allow it to make a proper commercial
and legal assessment of its position".
Sydney Airports Corporation Limited, 'Ansett Domestic Terminal
Lease Assignment', news release, 25 January 2002.
|24 January 2002
||A newspaper report claims that two overseas airlines are among
six that have done due diligence investigations of Ansett's
engineering and maintenance business. The report also claims that
the Victorian Government is offering incentives to bidders to
retain the business because it is a major employer.
Virgin Blue reaches agreement with Sydney, Melbourne and
Brisbane airports to expand its own terminals rather thatn rent
space from Ansett.
The new owners of Skywest Airlines raise $4 million in new
equity to buy the company from Ansett's administrators.
'Six airlines look at Ansett asset', Australian Financial
Review, 24 January 2002, p. 6.
'Virgin gives Ansett reasons to feel blue', Australian
Financial Review, 25-28 January 2002, p. 3.
'Skywest set for take-off as owners raise $4m more', Australian
Financial Review, 25-28 January 2002, p. 19.
|21 January 2002
||Tesna rehires some former Ansett executives.
Diners Club offers to act as proxy for holders of frequent flyer
points at the creditors' meeting on 29 January 2002, and calls on
the administrators to review their valuation of the points.
'Ansett execs rehired', Australian Financial Review, 22
January 2002, p. 7.
|17 January 2002
||A newspaper report claims that Qantas plans to expand its
domestic terminal at Sydney airport, which has been over-stretched
since Ansett's collapse.
The administrators release the first creditors' report. The
report says that the amount unsecured creditors are likely to
receive is only $91 million or only around five cents in the
dollar, less than previously estimated. Creditors are owed more
than $3.4 billion. The report places a value of $140 million on
frequent flyer points.
'Qantas plans a blow to Tesna Ansett', Australian Financial
Review, 17 January 2002, p. 5.
'Creditors face $1.8bn Ansett black hole', Australian Financial
Review, 18 January 2002, pp. 1 and 7.
|14 January 2002
||The Australian Council of Trade Unions reaches agreement with
Tesna on a employee share-ownership scheme, which provides for all
employees to have an equal share of five per cent of the airline's
share in New Ansett Profits', ACTU media release, 15 January
|11 January 2002
||Unions warn Tesna that the enterprise agreement they negotiated
would not go ahead unless $240 million of employee entitlements are
'Late hitch for Ansett from unions', Australian Financial
Review, 12-13 January 2002, p.4.
|9 January 2002
||The International Air Services Commission announces a review of
the capacity allocated to Ansett from the pool of seats reserved
for international airlines under air services agreements with other
'Qantas can grab Ansett's international allocation', Australian
Financial Review, 10 January 2002, p. 2.
|7 January 2002
||Administrator, Mr Mark Korda, says that the value of the vote
of holders of frequent flyer points and members of Ansett's Golden
Wing Club is yet to be determined.
'$2m to tell Ansett creditors of meeting', Australian Financial
Review, 8 January 2002, p. 5.
|2 January 2002
||Administrator, Mr Mark Korda, says that holders of frequent
flyer points will be able to vote as creditors at the meeting of
creditors on 29 January 2002.
'Revived Ansett may honour flyer points', Australian Financial
Review, 3 January 2002, p. 5.
|1 January 2002
||The Tesna consortium announces key senior Ansett appointments -
Mr James Hogan as Chief Executive Officer and Mr Adam Moroney as
Chief Financial Officer.
||Ansett web site
|20 December 2001
||The Federal Court rules that frequent fliers and
Golden Wing Club members are creditors and so can vote at the
meeting of creditors on 29 January 2002.
Administrator, Mr Mark Mentha, says that Tesna could propose a
loyalty program that could include redemption of points frozen when
The Australian Industrial Relations Commission certifies a
three-year enterprise agreement between Tesna and five key unions.
The agreement continues rates of pay but includes productivity
improvements, through changes in staffing levels and more flexible
working arrangements, a five per cent share of profits and equity
for employees, and $4.2 million for wage increases.
Federal Transport Minister, Hon. John Anderson, announces that
the Federal Government will not extend the temporary cabotage
dispensations that were issued to foreign international airlines
following the grounding of Ansett. The dispensations enabled
sixteen foreign international airlines to carry domestic
passengers. The dispensations were issued on the basis that they
expired on 31 December 2001. Mr Anderson says that "Qantas and
Virgin Blue have significantly expanded the number of aircraft they
are operating, and Tesna is expected to start flying at the end of
January, subject to the necessary safety approvals. We do not
believe it is necessary to extend the dispensations".
'Frequent flyers to vote on Ansett fate', Age, 21 December
2001, p. 4.
'Ansett signs deal with unions', AAP, 20 December 2001.
'Foreign international airlines and domestic services', Hon. John
Anderson, media release A266/2001, 20 December 2001.
|19 December 2001
||Redundant Ansett employees receive their first
||'Ansett workers receive first entitlement
payments', AAP, 19 December 2001.
|18 December 2001
||Administrator, Mr Mark Mentha, says that Air
Partners' injection of more than 35 per cent equity into Tesna
should ensure that the risk is small that the Tesna bid for Ansett
will fall through.
The administrator of Hazelton Airlines, Mr Michael Humphris of
Sims Lockwood, tells creditors that he is considering legal action
aginst the former administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers and
directors of the company. Mr Humphris says that investigations
indicate that the company was solvent when it was placed under
administration. This had damaged the airline causing losses. Mr
Humphris tells journalists "There is an argument that the company
was solvent. Therfore, if it was solvent, why was it closed down?"
The creditors accept Mr Humphris' recommendation to keep the
company afloat to recover more than $70 million in debts.
'Fox, Lew deal is airtight:administrator', Australian Financial
Review, 19 December 2001, p. 5.
'Hazelton was solvent when it was closed- administrator', AAP,
18 December 2001.
|17 December 2001
||A consortium, Air Partners III, signs a 'heads of
agreement' with Tesna Holdings Pty Ltd whereby Air Partners
undertake to inject equity into Tesna of between 35 and 49 per
cent. Air Partners is a consortium led by Mr David Bonderman,
chairman of Ryanair and director of Continental Airlines, and Mr
Bill Franke, who was chairman of America West Airlines. Tesna says
that Air Partners would contribute human resources, intellectual
and financial capital, and an international network of industry
relations. Mr Franke will work with Messrs Fox and Lew to appoint a
management team. Tesna is also reported to be negotiating
commercial arrangements with Singapore Airlines and other Star
||'Ansett bidders take US partners', AAP, 17 December
'Fox, Lew find new Ansett backer', Australian Financial
Review, 18 December 2001, pp. 1 and 6.
|14 December 2001
||The Lang-Virgin syndicate posts a
statement with the Australian Stock Exchange saying that the
administrators had asked the syndicate to resubmit their offer for
Ansett. Lang and Virgin say they had contacted the administrators
asking that their offer be put forward at the full creditors'
meeting to allow a comparison with the Lew-Fox bid. The statement
says that the offer is in the same terms as that made previously
and includes the purchase of Ansett terminals, maintenance division
and spare parts. The offer includes an undertaking to employ up to
2,000 former Ansett employees and to assume their accrued
entitlements. The statement also says that if Lang-Virgin were
given access to further financial information, they will be able to
consider whether an offer could be made for additional Ansett
assets, which would increase the returns to creditors.
Administrator, Mr Mark Mentha, says that the administrators have
received an expression of interest from Virgin Blue but that the
Tesna proposal is superior.
The Federal Court approves the terms of the Federal government
loan of $195 million to be used to fund redundancy payments to
former Ansett employees.
Administrator, Mr Mark Mentha, says that the issue of frequent
flyer points could be clarified in the new year.
'Ansett bidders seek key numbers', Australian Financial
Review, 14 December 2001, p. 5.
'Lang-Virgin secure support for rival bid', Australian
Financial Review, 15-15 December 2001, p. 3.
|13 December 2001
||Administrator, Mr Mark Korda, says that he is
seeking legal advice on whether Lang-Virgin should be granted
access to the data room. Tesna has told the administrators that it
does not want Lang-Virgin to have access to Ansett data.
Qantas announces that it would resume services to New York via
Los Angeles as part of the airline's ongoing review of
international capacity requirements. Chief Executive Officer, Mr
Geoff Dixon, says the adjustments reflect the fact that travel on
some international routes is showing signs of improvement. Qantas
will also add three additional flights weekly operating from
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority indicates that it will look
closely at Tesna's plan to commit to a two-year contract with
existing Ansett maintenance facilities, given Ansett's previous
'Ansett bidders seek key numbers', Australian Financial Review, 14
December 2001, p. 5.
Qantas returns to New York following schedule adjustments', Qantas
press release, 13 December 2001.
'Ansett systems face scrutiny', Australian, 14 December
|12 December 2001
||Tickets for Tesna flights go on
||'Fox-Lew's Ansett bid details to be
revealed soon', AAP, 12 December 2001
|11 December 2001
||Qantas announces the launch of
Australian Airlines (AA). AA is scheduled to begin operations in
the third quarter of 2002 between Cairns and six Asian cities.
While wholly-owned by Qantas Airways Limited, AA will have separate
management and operate independently of Qantas. Chief Executive of
AA, Mr Denis Adams, says that AA would be a single class, full
service leisure carrier. Mr Adams says that the Qantas Board's
approval of the airline's commencement is conditional on it
achieving a cost structure satisfactory to the Chief Executive
Officer of Qantas, Geoff Dixon.
AA would locate its first operational base in Cairns; commence
operations with four Boeing 767-300 aircraft, building to a fleet
of 12 767-300s; offer connecting flights between Cairns and the
Gold Coast six times a week; be headquartered in Sydney and
establish a second base to Cairns in a southern capital city;
establish a national presence as quickly as possible and eventually
fly to every Australian mainland capital including Perth and
Mr Adams says that the airline would provide international
growth for the Qantas Group. AA would not fly on any routes against
Qantas. Mr Adams says Qantas would provide, through its Cairns hub,
connecting services for AA to all mainland Australian capital
cities and key tourist destinations such as Uluru. AA would join
the Qantas Frequent Flyer program and would seek membership of the
one world™ alliance through Qantas.
Qantas says that it will extend its CityFlyer services to the
Sydney-Brisbane and Brisbane-Melbourne routes, add 16 services
between Canberra and Sydney and Canberra and Melbourne, and operate
Boeing 737s on all Canberra-Adelaide routes.
It is reported that Canberra Airport has put a proposal to the
administrator to convert the Ansett terminal to a common user
The Federal Court defers a decision on whether to approve the
terms of the Federal Government's loan of $195 million.
'Australian Airlines Takes Off', Qantas press release, 11 December
goes for Ansett's jugular', Australian Financial Review, 11
December 2001, p. 7
'Tesna schedules February flight', Australian Financial Review, 12
December 2001, p. 3.
|9 December 2001
||Virgin Blue says that it is seeking to strengthen
its position before Tesna begins operations by negotiating
arrangements with international airlines. The arrangments
reportedly involve the airlines handling pasengers at Virgin
terminals in return for unspecified special deals. Virgin Blue may
also benefit from a new Queensland government policy of requiring
agencies to obtain the best possible fares.
'Virgin to announce foreign carrier links', Australian Financial
Review, 10 December 2001, p. 8.
|7 December 2001
||Lang Corporation CEO, Mr Chris Corrigan, reportedly
has approached a number of major creditors, arguing that the
Lang-Virgin bid may offer creditors more than the Tesna bid if
Lang-Virgin were granted access to the data room that the
The administrators say that they are considering all issues
associated with Mr Corrigan's request to reopen the data room. They
say that Lang Corporation had access to the data room from 1
October but note that Lang Corporation now wants Virgin Blue to
'Up in the air. Lang fights on for Ansett', Age, 8 December
|5 December 2001
||The Federal Court delays approving the terms of the
$195 million government loan to allow unsecured creditors to raise
any concerns. The terms would prevent creditors from forcing the
Government to subordinate its loan at a meeting of creditors in
'Loan approval delay for Ansett', Australian Financial Review, 6
December 2001, p. 3.
|4 December 2001
||It is reported that Ansett and some unions are
protesting against $50 fares that United Airlines is offering on
the Sydney-Melbourne route. United Airlines is one of the airlines
allowed to fly on domestic routes since the Government temporarily
eased its cabotage policy.
'$50 fares hurting Ansett', Australian Financial Review, 4 December
2001, p. 7.
|30 November 2001
||The administrators agree to allow Virgin Blue
access to the Ansett Launceston terminal after the Federal
Government presses them to reverse their decision to deny access.
But the dispute over access at Canberra remains unresolved with
administrator, Mr Mark Mentha, saying that there are legal reasons
Ansett can not allow Virgin Blue to use the terminal for a new
daily Canberra-Melbourne service. Mr Mentha says that the
administrators cannot grant access to the Canberra terminal as it
is part of the sale of Ansett to Tesna.
Administrator, Mr Mark Korda, says Virgin Blue has legal
agreements to use Ansett's Canberra terminal for its
Brisbane-Canberra route and the Launceston terminal, but not to use
the Canberra terminal for its Melbourne flights. Administrator, Mr
Mark Mentha, says that Virgin had not approached the administrator
to use the Canberra teminal for its Melbourne flights until the
afternoon of 29 November.
'Canberra steps into terminal row', Australian Financial Review,
1-2 December 2001, p. 4.
'Virgin did not have "legal agreement" to use Ansett terminal',
AAP, 30 November 2001.
|29 November 2001
||The administrators deny Virgin Blue access to
Ansett terminals in Canberra and Launceston after Virgin Blue
begins a new daily Canberra-Melbourne service and a second
Melbourne-Launceston service. The administrators also threaten to
deny access totally to Virgin Blue at the two airports. The
administrators say that it is not possible to agree to long-term
lease agreements with Virgin Blue or increases in frequencies at
the two airports while the sale of Ansett to Tesna is incomplete.
Canberra Airport threatens legal action to try to gain control
of the terminal and convert it into a common use facility, and says
that Ansett owes the airport a siginificant amount of rent which
puts Ansett in breach of contract.
In a letter to the administrators, Federal Transport Minister,
Hon. John Anderson, says "I am disturbed by these reports which
suggest Ansett is using its privileged terminal access to hinder
other airlines, even though it has received a high level of support
from Australian taxpayers".
Administrator, Mr Mark Mentha, says that Virgin had been
pre-selling tickets without asking the administrator if terminal
access would be available.
'Ansett puts terminal squeeze on Virgin', Australian Financial
Review, 30 November 2001, p. 3.
'Ansett administrators deny preventing Virgin terminal access',
AAP, 30 November 2001.
|28 November 2001
||Administrator, Mr Mark Mentha, says that the Tesna
bid has saved taxpayers $464 million. He also says that he has the
full support of creditors to proceed with the bid, and that he
expects unsecured creditors to receive between 5 and 16 cents in
the dollar "depending on the realisation of global aviation
assets". While the Tesna bid is "full steam ahead", the
administrator has a "fall-back position with Singapore Airlines."
Federal Transport Minister, Hon. John Anderson, denies that
Cabinet's decision to rule out concessions for the Tesna bid was
politically motivated and affected by Lang Corporation's bid.
A committee of creditors agrees to accept the terms of the $195
million loan from the Federal government to fund redundancies. But
some creditors say they would consider forcing the Government to
subordinate its loan at a meeting of creditors in January 2002.
'Fox, Lew deal 'saves $464m' - Mentha', Australian Financial
Review, 29 November 2001, p. 4.
'Fox firm: new Ansett to take off', Sydney Morning Herald , 29
'Loan approval delay for Ansett', Australian Financial Review, 6
December 2001, p.3.
|27 November 2001
||Federal Transport Minister, Hon. John Anderson,
releases details of the Government's decisions regarding Tesna's
claims for assistance. Mr Anderson says that the Government will
not invest in Tesna nor provide support that skews the market in
On competition, Mr Anderson notes that the ACCC is inquiring
into a number of matters involving Qantas and is increasing
surveillance of the airline industry to ensure that no company
misuses its market power. The ACCC is also seeking submissions
about whether it should develop guidelines specifically for the
industry in relation to anti-competitive conduct.
Mr Anderson also notes that Qantas has advised the Government
that it is prepared to enter into a code of conduct about its
business decisions and that officials are discussing such a code
with the airline. Tesna will be able to compete for Federal
government travel contracts and, provided its bids are competitive,
could expect to win government contracts in proportion to its
overall share of the market. The Government will exempt all general
aviation airports from the airline ownership provisions of the
Mr Anderson says that the Government will make transitional
regulations immediately and legislation will be introduced into
Parliament early next year. Essendon Airport (owned by a consortium
including Mr Fox) will remain a general aviation airport and Tesna
will not be able to use it for scheduled services. The Civil
Aviation Safety Authority will expedite Tesna's safety approvals,
including its Air Operators Certificate, and will do everything it
can to meet the company's timetable.
Ansett employees who transfer to the new company (Tesna) will be
covered by the Government's General Employee Entitlements and
Redundancy Scheme, which provides a safety net of full statutory
entitlements and redundancy payments to the community standard of
eight weeks for workers who are made redundant by an insolvent
employer. Tesna will have access to all of the international rights
held by Ansett International, including its codeshare rights,
subject to the company resuming its commercial arrangements with
its partner airlines.
Mr Anderson says that the Government has protected Ansett's
slots at Sydney Airport, and that there are sufficient slots
available to meet Tesna's operating requirements without
disadvantaging other operators. The Government has provided
Australian airlines with third party war risk indemnity cover since
the commercial insurance industry withdrew from the market. The
Government will provide Tesna with war risk cover on the same basis
as Qantas and Virgin Blue. The Sydney Airports Corporation and
Ansett were partway through simplifying the lease agreement for its
Sydney domestic terminal when the company went into administration.
The Government will ensure that the simplified lease agreement is
concluded in a timely manner.
Mr Lindsay Fox accuses the Federal Government of trying to kill
Ansett. Mr Fox alludes to a link between the Government's decision
not to meet some of Tesna's claims for assistance with the bid for
some Ansett assets by Lang Corporation. Mr Fox says that the Tesna
consortium is "unambiguously committed" to buying Ansett.
Hon. John Anderson, 'Tesna consortiuum bid for Ansett Australia',
media release A257/2001, 27 November 2001.
'Fox lashes out over Ansett snub', Australian Financial Review, pp.
1 and 6, 28 November 2001.
|26 November 2001
||Administrator, Mr Mark Korda, says that in
discussions with Lang Corporation and Virgin Blue, they did not
place a formal offer on the table. He says Lang Corporation
managing director, Mr Chris Corrigan, and Virgin Blue executive
director, Mr Brett Godfrey, wanted an update on the sale and had
expressed an interest in Ansett assets. Mr Korda says that "We
reaffirmed that the business had been sold and they reaffirmed to
us that if the sale didn't go ahead, they would be interested in
certain employees and certain terminals".
Mr Corrigan says that, technically, his bid might not have a
hope unless Mr Fox and Mr Lew pulled out but says that "The Fox-Lew
proposals have a large number of conditions precedent, as we
understand it, and who's to know whether those are satisfied or
Mr Korda confirms that the administrators plan to launch Ansett
Mark II on 31 January and expect the launch to take place. But Mr
Korda says that "This is a complex deal ... and there is a risk
that the consortium won't meet those condition precedents. But we
think progress is very very good at the moment". He also says that
conditions could be waived or extended by mutual agreement from
both parties. A "substantial" deposit had been put down on the
airline, which was refundable under certain circumstances.
Federal Transport Minister, Hon. John Anderson says that cabinet
would make a final decision on two central issues this week: the
Government's attitude to buying tickets and a proposed voluntary
code of conduct by Qantas to ensure a viable marketplace for a
second domestic airline.
|'Ansett administrators reject fresh interest in
airline', AAP, 26 November 2001.
'Ansett administrators to press ahead with sale to Lew-Fox',
AAP, 26 November 2001.
|24-25 November 2001
||Lang Corporation agrees to take a majority $300
million stake in the Virgin Blue. The agreement is conditional on
Lang buying Ansett terminals and maintenance facilities, and would
employ around 1,500 Ansett staff. Virgin Blue chief executive, Mr
Brett Godfrey, says that Virgin Blue had agreed to the Lang
Corporation deal because its current facilities would reach maximum
capacity in about 18 months and Ansett's terminals and other
facilities would allow it to grow substantially.
||'Virgin Blue could be Aust-owned in Lang bid for
Ansett', AAP, 25 November 2001.
|23 November 2001
||Mr David Huttner of Virgin Blue says that "Major
creditors have approached us to say that they are not convinced
that the Fox-Lew deal is in their interests and that they are
concerned at the way the process is being driven". Senior officials
from Ansett unions dismiss the Lang-Virgin Blue proposal and
reconfirm their support for the Fox-Lew bid.
'Creditors 'unhappy' with the Fox-Lew bid', Australian Financial
Review, 24-5 November 2001, p. 8.
|22 November 2001
||Lang Corporation chief executive, Mr Chris
Corrigan, announces that Lang, together with Virgin Blue, is ready
to bid for Ansett. Mr Corrigan says that the proposal does not
require Federal government financial support. Mr Corrigan rejects
as "totally false" suggestions that the bid is a union-busting
exercise. Virgin Blue executives confirm that the proposal entails
Lang buying a substantial slice of Virgin Blue.
Following a meeting with the Messrs Fox and Lew, Federal
Transport Minister, Hon. John Anderson, says that all outstanding
issues had been resolved apart from two regulatory issues which he
declined to detail. Mr Anderson says that the Government has agreed
to provide some assistance to the Fox-Lew (Tesna) consortium
regarding the regulatory environment that Tesna would operate
under, as well as some issues relating to the cross-ownership of
ACCC commissioner, Mr Ross Jones, says that the ACCC is
examining 12 specific allegations of anti-competitive conduct by
Qantas, and has launched a broad inqiury to determine whether
specific guidelines are required in the aviation market in
Australia. ACCC chairman, Dr Fels says that the allegations were
made by Virgin Blue, the Ansett administrators and one airport. Dr
Fels says that "Given the breadth of their specific complaints,
it's sensible to extend investigation into wider analysis of
anti-competitive conduct in the aviation industry".
In a letter to the Ansett Administrators, the Federal Minister
for Transport and Regional Services, Hon. John Anderson, reaffirms
the Government's position requiring the administrators to repay the
Government's advance to cover employee entitlements under the SEESA
Scheme. "For the proposed advance to the Administrators of
taxpayer's funds under the SEESA Scheme, the Government will not be
relinquishing the normal statutory priority which applies for
repayment". This has been made clear to the administrators on many
occasions and the Government would not change its mind. The
Government's objective in putting in place SEESA was to ensure that
retrenched Ansett workers received their statutory entitlements on
a timely basis. The alternative would be for employees to possibly
wait several years in the hope of being paid by the Administrator.
SEESA, and the Ticket Levy which underpins it, were never intended
to be utilised to meet Ansett's liabilities to its unsecured
creditors. "SEESA is a safety net for employees, not taxpayers
funds to be used at the discretion of the administrators." The
Government rejects the assertion that, in introducing the Ticket
Levy and in seeking to "stand in the shoes" of employees as a
priority creditor, it was somehow "double-dipping. We will cancel
the Ticket Levy when the overall funding needed under SEESA is
clearer, and when the Administrators provide a clearer indication
of the value of assets available to creditors". In the unlikely
event that there were any surplus funds available from the Ticket
Levy, the Government will channel them back into the industry for
purposes such as the provision of additional support to regional
aviation or aviation-dependent tourism.
'Corrigan: no strings on Ansett bid', Australian Financial Review,
23 November 2001, pp. 1 and 4.
'Virgin Blue could be Aust-owned in Lang bid for Ansett', AAP,
25 November 2001.
ACCC, 'Airlines investigation update', media release, 22 November
Hon. John Anderson, 'Government Reaffirms Position on Ansett',
media release A250/2001, 22 November 2001.
|19 November 2001
||Sir Richard Branson reportedly will
consider relinquishing control of Virgin Blue to divert funds to
Virgin Atlantic, which has been hit by the downturn in the world
Co-administrator, Mr Mark Mentha, says that Ansett is trading at
a small loss. Load factors are adequate to keep the business
operating in its present form, and the main reason for the losses
is the cost of paying for unused terminals in regional centres. Mr
Mentha says that is is important to keep these terminals intact in
order to sell Ansett as a going concern even though they are a
drain on Ansett's finances.
Mr Mentha criticises comments by Virgin Blue that it has not
been given access to the data room the administrators set up. Mr
Mentha says that the data room has been closed because Ansett has
already been sold to the Fox-Lew consortium.
In response to a question on Qantas's dominance of the domestic
aviation industry, the chairman of the ACCC, Dr Alan Fels, says
that "The provisions [of the Trade Practices Act] concerning the
misuse of market power should be strengthened".
'Branson may sell control of Virgin Blue', Australian Financial
Review, 19 November 2001, p. 3.
'Ansett lures back accounts', Australian Financial Review, 20
November 2001, p. 5.
|16 November 2001
||Lang Corporation CEO, Mr Chris
Corrigan, and Virgin Blue representatives brief the Federal
Transport Minister, Hon. John Anderson, on their proposal.
Mr Anderson indicates that the Government will not accede to a
demand from the administrators to convert the $195 million loan
into a grant, saying "That money was not made available nor
legislated for to be made available to other creditors, which the
administrators are asking for".
Mr Anderson also reveals that the Fox-Lew bid includes a demand
that the Government underwrite passenger numbers. Mr Anderson
states that "We think that is difficult and we've asked them to
have another look at what they realistically might ask of us".
'Lang, Virgin table Ansett plan', Australian Financial Review,
17-18 November 2001, p. 5.
|15 November 2001
||A meeting of the committee of creditors
endorses the Fox-Lew proposal. The administrators say that, if the
Fox-Lew proposal were to succeed, $223 million would be left over
to pay unsecured creditors, returning 15 cents in the dollar.
The committee also hears that Lang Corporation has proposed a
deal to acquire Ansett terminals and infrastructure, in conjunction
with an equity deal with Virgin Blue, that would lead to the
expansion of Virgin Blue and the employment of about 2,000 Ansett
Messrs Fox and Lew set November 24 as the deadline for the
Government to agree to their key demands.
Virgin table Ansett plan', Australian Financial Review, 17-18
November 2001, p. 5.
'Fox, Lew set Nov 24 deadline', Australian Financial Review, 16
November 2001, p. 7.
|14 November 2001
||The ANstaff syndicate lodges a counter-offer for
Sydney Airport Corporation (SAC) has reportedly proposes to buy
Ansett's Sydney terminal and convert it to a common-use terminal.
SAC is reportedly concerned that the Fox-Lew proposal would not
fully utilise the terminal, decreasing its value. But
co-administrator, Mr Mark Korda, says that the proposal has not
been put to him.
'Ansett deal: Howard holds key', Australian Financial Review, 15
November 2001, pp. 1and 6.
|13 November 2001
||In response to a revised Fox-Lew proposal, Federal
Transport Minister, Hon. John Anderson, says that the proposal
seeks reasonable non-financial measures, better protection from
rivals' anti-competitive tactics, and the expedition of approvals
such as the transfer of Ansett's air operator certificate.
Administrators Korda and Mentha say that if the Government does
not back down from its position that the loan of $195 million be
treated as a secured creditor, unsecured creditors were unlikely to
get a return and could vote down the Fox-Lew proposal, probably
leading to Ansett's liquidation. The administrators say that if
Ansett were liquidated, there was likely to be a shortfall on the
$700 million owed to staff as priority creditors, and unsecured
creditors would get nothing. The administrators estimate that if
the Government were to convert the $195 million loan into a grant,
unsecured creditors would receive up to 20 cents in the dollar.
AirNZ says that it would sell tickets on Ansett Mark II under a
new commercial agreement.
'Ansett bid gains ground in Canberra', Australian Financial Review,
14 November 2001, pp. 1 and 6.
|12 November 2001
||It is reported that the Fox-Lew
consortium expects to lose up to $120 million in the first year of
operating a new Ansett but expect a profit of $50 million in the
third year. The Prime Minister, Hon. John Howard, says that the
Government would have to be "satisfied that the industrial
relations arangements proposed for the future [under the Fox-Lew
proposal] are realistic".
'Lew, Fox budget for $120 million loss', Australian Financial
Review, 13 November 2001, p. 3.
|11 November 2001
||The Prime Minister, Hon. John Howard,
says that the Government would consider the Ansett proposal as a
matter of priority. Federal Transport Minister, Hon. John Anderson,
says that the Government would leave open the possibility of
targeted assistance to Ansett of the sort given to regional
Ansett Mark II is reportedly incurring losses because of its
terminal lease obligations and not because of poor load
'PM makes Ansett priority as Fox, Lew set deadline', Australian
Financial Review, 12 November 2001, pp. 1 and 4.
winning ways as simple as saying 'no'', Australian Financial
Review, 12 November 2001, p. 4.
|9 November 2001
||Federal Transport Minister, Hon. John
Anderson, questions the viability of the Fox-Lew bid because it
depends heavily on government assistance. A letter from the CEO of
Virgin Blue, Mr Brett Godfrey, to Mr Anderson claims that Virgin's
and Qantas's commitments to buy aircraft would return capacity to
the level that existed when Ansett collapsed, and that the Fox-Lew
proposal to add up to 29 aircraft would undermine the market. Mr
Godfrey says that this problem would be averted if it were left to
the market. It is reported that the administrators have said that
Ansett is losing money.
'Anderson questions Ansett sale terms', Australian Financial
Review, 10-11 November 2001, p. 3.
|8 November 2001
||Ansett administrators, Mark Mentha and Mark Korda
of Andersen, enter into an agreement with the Solomon Lew - Lindsay
Fox consortium and Tesna Holdings Ltd for the sale of the airline.
Under the agreement Tesna will acquire the mainline airline assets
of Ansett and assume responsibility for the continuing employment
of approximately 4,000 employees. In addition the consortium will
be injecting cash into Tesna to capitalise the company and ensure
that it can meet its business objectives and remain viable and
competitive in the long term. The total value of the acquisition
and cash injection is in excess of $AUS1.1 billion. Tesna's
business plan calls for the establishment of Ansett Mark II as a
full service airline for which it intends to acquire and finance a
new fleet of 29 Airbus aircraft valued in excess of $AUS2.5
billion. The agreement contains a number of conditions including:
- Approval by all Ansett creditors at a second meeting to be held
prior to the completion of the sale transaction on January 31,
- Tesna acquiring the domestic airline terminals, the jet base
and maintenance base located at Melbourne Airport and the flight
simulator data centres at Tullamarine.
- Acquiring various ancillary infrastructure of the airline and
plant and equipment associated with these facilities.
Tesna has agreed to source its maintenance requirements from the
Ansett engineering facilities, which are located predominantly at
Tullamarine. The parties have agreed to work closely together to
finalise all legal documentation and to obtain all necessary
approvals by January 31, 2002. The agreement also contains
provisions for Commonwealth and state government support designed
to benefit all Ansett stakeholders. In announcing the agreement Mr
Korda said that it maximised the chances of the new airline
surviving as well as providing continuing employment opportunities
for Ansett employees. Apart from the 4,000 in the mainline
business, another 2,500 staff are employed in regional Australia in
airlines the administrators intend to sell. He said the
administrators recognised the need for further work by all
stakeholders during the coming months to achieve the Ansett
"On completion of this transaction, however, we believe that the
chances of as much as possible of the Ansett business continuing in
existence and providing a satisfactory return to creditors has been
maximised." "This agreement represents the best opportunity for the
restoration of Ansett as a competitive and viable airline. "We are
satisfied that Ansett Mark II will now develop into the sort of
competitive airline to which Australia is entitled."
Federal Transport Minister, Hon John Anderson, welcomes the
announcement but does not commit the Government to providing
Executive chairman of the seven television network, Mr Kerry
Stokes, offers to buy Ansett's WA subsidisary, SkyWest.
'Ansett coup for Fox and Lew', Australian Financial Review, 9
November 2001, pp. 1 and 21.
'Fox-Lew Ansett bid gets lift-off', Australian Financial Review, 9
November 2001, p. 20.
|7 November 2001
||Qantas CEO, Mr Geoff Dixon, criticises
proposals for 'special deals' with governments and unions to keep
Ansett flying, saying that such deals would distort the domestic
aviation market. Federal Transport Minister, Hon John Anderson,
says that the Fox-Lew request for government assistance, reportedly
for $600 million, is excessive. A senior government source says
that the ANstaff consortium is also seeking government assistance.
Vitorian Premier, Hon Steve Bracks, is reported as having promised
incentives for Ansett mark II including payroll tax
'Qantas lashes out at Ansett Deals', Australian Financial
Review, 8 November 2001, pp. 1 and 9.
|5 November 2001
||Stevedoring company, Lang Corporation,
is reported as working on a proposal to buy some Ansett assets in
conjunction with Virgin Blue. CEO of Virgin Blue, Mr Brett Godfrey,
confirms that Lang is one of about a dozen potential investors the
airline is talking to regarding Virgin's capital raising. The
report says that Lang may be interested in acquiring Ansett
terminals and a deal to allow Virgin to operate from those
terminals, and that Lang may also be interested in acquiring
Ansett's freight business.The chairman of the ACCC, Dr Fels, says
that a deal involving Ansett and Virgin "would require very careful
consideration under the Trade Practices Act".
Virgin Blue's CEO, Mr Brett Godfrey, says that Virgin could, by
expanding its fleet, capture up to 24 per cent of the market by the
third quarter next year, if it is not obstructed by government
'Lang-Virgin plan for Ansett bid', Australian Financial Review, 5
November 2001, p. 3.
'Showdown on future of Ansett bid', Australian Financial Review, 6
November 2001, p. 3.
|4 November 2001
||ANstaff's financial adviser, Mr
Michael Jones, says that the group is talking to two foreign
investors to try to secure $50 million to complete a $500 million
'Lang-Virgin plan for Ansett bid', Australian Financial Review, 5
November 2001, p. 3.
|2 November 2001
||Mr Robin Brett, QC, for the Government, tells the
Federal Court that revenue from the ticket levy need not be passed
on to fund entitlements for Ansett employees since the Act that
raises the levy does not specify how the revenue must be spent. Mr
Brett says that the Government "would stand in employees' shoes" as
a priority creditor to recoup from Ansett assets a $195 million
||'Ansett funds may not be passed on to employees,
court told', AAP, 2 November 2001
|1 November 2001
||Mr Graeme McMahon, head of the ANstaff
syndicate, admits that the syndicate is finding it difficult to
raise finance. A press report says that the administrators are
negotiating with a financial institution "with close links to
'Doubts fly about Ansett Mk II', Australian Financial Review, 2
November 2001, p. 5.