Brindabella's website goes dark, panel by panel

Brindabella Airlines is now ‘dead’ but could be resurrected if sold.

It suspended all operations indefinitely effective this afternoon, with KordaMentha, of Ansett fame, being appointed receivers and managers.

This is the KordaMentha statement in full:

David Winterbottom and Sebastian Hams of KordaMentha were today appointed Receivers and Managers of the Canberra-based regional airline Brindabella. The group consists of five companies including Brindabella Airlines Pty Ltd, Aeropelican Air Services Pty Ltd, M/V Purchasing Company Pty Ltd, Business Air Holdings Pty Ltd and Trand Holdings Pty Ltd (‘Brindabella’) (‘the Group’). This follows the Group’s decision yesterday to ground all aircraft not already grounded by the recent CASA directive and to cease all passenger flights.

Mr Winterbottom advised that Brindabella would no longer be accepting bookings, and all further flights will be suspended indefinitely. Mr Winterbottom also indicated the Receivers would be calling for immediate expressions of interest in the sale of the business, however the business would not continue to operate whilst the sale process is conducted.

Mr Winterbottom said that Qantas had commenced providing additional services on some of Brindabella’s usual routes and the Receivers were in urgent discussions with the NSW Government and regulatory authorities regarding sourcing other replacement services.

Mr Winterbottom added: “Given the approaching Christmas and New Year period we will be working very hard to minimise the inconvenience to customers and importantly, enable alternative travel options.” Brindabella, formed in 1994, operated up to 250 sectors a week, with services from Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane to regional destinations including Newcastle, Cobar, Coffs Harbour, Moree, Mudgee, Narrabri, Newcastle, Orange and Tamworth.

It has 140 employees and operates five US-built Metroliners and seven British-built Jetstreams. Recently Brindabella have experienced significant maintenance and regulatory issues which have impacted aircraft availability and services.

Brindabella Airlines senior management are working with KordaMentha and are assisting with any requests made of them.

Mr Winterbottom said it was too early to predict the ultimate future of Brindabella or to be precise about the reasons for the Group’s problems, however the competitive nature of the airline industry, regulatory and maintenance issues and the financial pressures this would have placed on the airline would certainly be significant factors.

Brindabella customers can find more information in the creditor section of www.kordamentha.com, including contact numbers for further enquiries.

There are some surprises in the statement, in that it ascribes a possible factor in Brindabella’s problems as being the ‘competitive nature’ of the industry. Huh! Most of its routes were monoplies, licensed by the state to communities considered too small to sustain competition.

It also refers to regulatory and maintenance issues. One thing that ought to be ingrained in the KordaMentha psyche from the Ansett collapse is that if an airline ignores the legal obligations to maintain its fleet or fails to keep proper records, it will come under regulatory pressure. That’s what safety regulators do, if they are good at it. They enforce the safety rules. It’s not pressure, it’s an obligation.

This is like a trucking company blaming the enforcement of road authority rules for trading difficulties. It is a nonsensical proposition.

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