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Ansett Australia
IATA
AN
ICAO
AAA
Callsign
Ansett
Founded 1936
Ceased operations 2002
Hubs Melbourne Airport
Sydney Airport
Focus cities Brisbane Airport
Perth Airport
Frequent flyer program Global Rewards
Member lounge Golden Wing Club, Ansett Executive Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance
Fleet size 138 (defunct)
Destinations 88
Parent company Ansett Australia Limited
(ACN 004 209 410)
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia
Key people Sir Reginald Ansett (founder)
Sir Peter Abeles (former owner and CEO)
Website http://www.ansett.com.au

Ansett Australia Ltd, Ansett or Ansett-ANA as it was commonly known in earlier years, was a major Australian airline group, based in Melbourne, Australia, flying domestically within Australia and to destinations in Asia at its height in 1996.[1] The airline was placed into administration in 2001 after suffering financial collapse, and subsequent organised liquidation in 2002, subject to deed of company arrangement. Ansett operated for 66 years and 11 days after its first takeoff from Hamilton in Western Victoria.

Contents

History

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Beginnings

The company was started by Sir Reginald Miles Ansett in 1935 as Ansett Airways Pty. Ltd. This was an offshoot of his road transport business which had become so successful it was threatening the freight and passenger revenue of Victorian Railways. This led the state government to legislate to put private road transport operators out of business. Reg Ansett countered by establishing an airline as aviation was under control of the national government and beyond the reach of the state government.

Ansett's first route was between Hamilton, in western Victoria, and Melbourne, the state capital, operated with a Fokker Universal monoplane. The rapid success of the airline led Ansett to float the business in 1937. As the route network expanded, Ansett Airways imported Lockheed Electra aircraft. During World War II Reg Ansett opted to suspend all scheduled services in favour of more lucrative work for the USAAF. After the war Ansett battled to re-establish his domestic routes using war-surplus Douglas DC-3s, converted from C-47s and a motley collection of smaller airliners.

At this time, the Australian domestic airline travel sector was dominated by Australian National Airways (ANA), established in 1936 by a consortium of British-financed Australian shipowners. The Chifley Labor government was determined to establish a state-owned airline to operate all domestic and international services. It was eventually thwarted in this aim by the High Court of Australia, and so it established Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) to operate in competition with ANA.

Towards a duopoly

Two Ansett Lockheed Model 10 Electra aircraft at Mildura, Victoria in 1938.
Ansett Convair CV-340 on the tarmac at Coolangatta Airport, Queensland in 1955.
Bristol 171 Sycamore in Ansett-ANA service in Australia around 1960. Note possible spraying arm attachments.

Ansett Airways remained a bit player as TAA and ANA battled for supremacy in the 1940s and 1950s. TAA, being better managed and having better aircraft, had driven ANA to the verge of bankruptcy by 1957. Ansett operated around the big two, maintaining budget fare interstate operations with DC-3s and later Convair CV-340s. The airline was backed up by extensive road transport operations, including Ansett Freight Express and Ansett-Pioneer Coaches, as well as the Ansair coach-building operation.

The Menzies Liberal government, while supporting TAA because of the excellent dividends it paid to the government, wanted to avoid TAA having a monopoly on domestic services if ANA collapsed, as seemed likely. The only alternative, as it transpired, was for Ansett to buy out the ANA operation. The ANA directors fiercely resisted this initially, but eventually succumbed to Ansett's offer of 3.3 million pounds for their airline. Ansett's bid had a number of financial supporters, most prominent of these being the Shell Company. Douglas Aircraft was also concerned about ANA's demise, as TAA had ceased to be a customer for their aircraft. The new entity was called Ansett-ANA, the name it retained until 1968.

Ansett-ANA's excellent profit record was largely courtesy of the Menzies government's 'Two Airlines Policy' which propped up Ansett-ANA and clipped TAA's superior marketing efforts. The policy effectively blocked any other domestic interstate operators by way of a ban on importation of aircraft without a government licence. From 1957 until the 1980s Ansett and TAA operated as virtual carbon copies of each other, operating the same aircraft at the same times, to the same destinations, with– by present standards– grossly inflated fares, which were identical.

Reg Ansett then set out to ensure no other competitors could rise up to challenge his airline, as he had done with ANA. He took control of Adelaide-based Guinea Airways (renamed Airlines of South Australia) and Sydney-based Butler Air Transport (renamed Airlines of New South Wales). The takeover of Butler was achieved with covert support from the Menzies government and by Ansett engineering his employees' purchases of Butler shares. He then flew the employees to a general meeting in Sydney and forced a vote in favour of selling out to Ansett.

Ansett-ANA was profitable courtesy of government support, but also because of Reg Ansett's parsimonious ways. Ansett-ANA operated from terminals around the country that were best described as spartan.

Following the takeover of ANA, Reg Ansett lobbied the government to block TAA's purchase of Sud Aviation Caravelle jet aircraft. He was concerned about his airline's ability to finance equivalent jet aircraft, and the major engineering leap required to go from an all-piston fleet direct to pure jet aircraft, TAA had been operating prop-jet Vickers Viscounts since 1954, and so had expertise in jet technology. Ansett was successful in convincing the government to authorize the importation of more Viscounts and the new Lockheed L-188 Electra. This action delayed the introduction of pure jet aircraft to Australian skies until 1964, when the Boeing 727–100 began flying.

Expansion beyond domestic aviation

The airline prospered during the second half of the 20th century, especially in the 1980s. However, a number of substantial investments performed badly, including a share in the US airline America West Airlines (which filed for bankruptcy, but survived) and its Hamilton Island resort (which went into receivership). Ansett also paid millions of dollars for the right to be official airline of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, an investment generally regarded as unwise. This destabilised the financial position of the company considerably.

Ansett expanded into New Zealand in 1987 through its subsidiary Ansett New Zealand after the New Zealand government opened its skies to the airline. After the Australian government reneged on an agreement to reciprocate, Air New Zealand tried to acquire a share of Qantas, but was not allowed. Instead it bought a 50% stake in Ansett Australia (without managerial control) for A$540 million in 1996. Ansett Australia then had to divest itself of Ansett New Zealand to avoid creating a monopoly.[2]

Ansett commenced international service on 11 September 1993 to Bali, Indonesia. In 1994, it commenced service to Osaka and Hong Kong. Ansett commenced Jakarta Service on 12 January 1996. On 8 June 1997, Ansett commenced flights to Shanghai. Later, Seoul, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur flights were suspended.

Air New Zealand Merger and Collapse

On 14 September 2001, the day of Ansett's closure announcement, thousands of employees met at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne to protest
Many employees expressed anger at what they believed was Air New Zealand's culpability in Ansett's financial collapse

Air New Zealand, previously a 50% shareholder, acquired full ownership of Ansett in February 2000, buying out News Corporation's stake for A$680 million, outbidding Singapore Airlines's A$500 million bid[3]. This essentially merged Ansett and Air New Zealand into one group, entitled "Air New Zealand / Ansett" although both airlines maintained their individual operations. The purchase by Air New Zealand was widely viewed as a mistake. Monash University aviation economics academic Keith Trace commented "... by taking it on, they ensured that their own airline was in terrible danger. That was a dreadful mistake. They were taken for a ride."[2] Ansett became more of a drain than an asset. This was difficult for Air New Zealand to support because Ansett was the larger airline, with more employees, more aircraft, and more financial overhead.

The Australian government then changed the rules to allow foreign airlines to fly domestic routes. Competition from Qantas and a succession of start-up airlines (Impulse Airlines and Virgin Blue), top-heavy and substantially overpaid staff, an ageing fleet and grounding of the Boeing 767 fleet due to maintenance irregularities left Ansett seriously short of cash, losing $1.3 million a day.[1] Ansett's main issue was the costs it incurred in running its operations; for every $1 of revenue, 10 cents was profit compared to Qantas' 60 cents for the same amount[citation needed]. Air New Zealand attempted to cut Ansett's costs while maintaining the same level of revenue. This did not work, as the cost cutting hurt Ansett, with the notable incidents being the grounding of planes in Christmas 2000 and Easter 2001. Ansett was thus unable to compete with the low cost carriers and Qantas, who were able to run at a loss on some routes, as they could not maintain revenue while cutting their costs, which included laying off staff. A deal made in April 2001 for Ansett to purchase Virgin Blue was repudiated by Virgin chief Richard Branson in August,[4] and Singapore Airlines, which was initially blocked from buying Ansett, was also prevented from investing further in Air New Zealand/Ansett by the New Zealand government. It then declined to take up an earlier proposed deal to inject over $500 million into Air New Zealand and Ansett after talks collapsed. In early September 2001, as the trouble worsened, the New Zealand government prepared to rescue Air New Zealand (eventually buying 83% of the company for NZ$885 million) but cut Ansett adrift. Despite public pleas, the Australian government refused to fund Ansett.[5]

Quickly running out of both lines of credit and options, Air New Zealand placed the Ansett group of companies into voluntary administration with PricewaterhouseCoopers on 12 September 2001. In the early hours of 14 September, the administrator determined that Ansett was not viable to continue operations (primarily due to the apparent lack of any funds to cover fuel, catering or employee wages) and grounded the fleets of Ansett and its subsidiaries Hazelton Airlines, Kendell, Skywest and Aeropelican. Flights already in the air at the time the decision was made (international flights from Hong Kong, Japan and domestic red eye perth flights) continued on to their destinations, unaware of the devastating news that would greet them at the other end come morning. Customers and employees had no warning of the stoppage in operations. Everyone had been told in the days leading up to 14 September that flights would continue on schedule, and Ansett employees did not find out until they showed up for work at dawn that day. Thousands of passengers were left stranded and more than 16,000 people found themselves out of a job, making this the largest mass job loss event in Australian history.[1] Widespread protests were held by workers, including the blockade of an Air New Zealand plane about to carry New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark home from Melbourne.[6] It was alleged by the then administrators that Air New Zealand had engaged in asset stripping of the airline as well as charging of its fuel costs due to Air New Zealand failing to hedge its fuel costs thus leaving it susceptible to major fluctuations in fuel charges during 2000.[7][8] This claim was strongly denied by Air New Zealand, noting it had funded Ansett's loss of A$180 million in the last year, and Ansett's administrators soon admitted there was no evidence of any asset stripping.[9]

Ansett Mark II & Tesna

After receiving a federal government guarantee, Ansett resumed limited services between major cities on 1 October 2001, utilising only the Airbus A320 fleet. This was referred to as 'Ansett Mark II', an operation run and financed by Ansett Australia under administration. The purpose of getting Ansett back into the air was aimed directly at attracting a buyer for the business and generating positive cash flow. Attempts by Ansett's Voluntary Administrators to re-engage Singapore Airlines to consider a role in resurrecting Ansett through a meeting on 6 October 2001[10] resulted in SIA agreeing to play a consultancy role in this effort[11]. The scaled-back operation ran on a tight budget, and its product reflective of that. It consisted of single class seating with no catering, interlining baggage, valet parking or frequent flyer points. After a month back in the air, the Golden Wing Club Lounges re-opened, however like the scaled-back flying operation, provided no refreshments or other amenities apart from coffee. Ansett essentially was in "lock down" mode, while the administrators tried to source buyers in a very challenging market. Ansett Mark II traded only as "Ansett" (minus the Australia) in a different font to separate it from the former operation. It traded from Ansett terminals, with Ansett ground staff, crew and baggage handlers working around the clock to make it a success with limited resources. Designated gates at each of Ansetts terminals were used for the operation, while aircraft not being utilised (767/737 fleet) were moved away to more distant gates, with the disused concourses being sealed off.

In November 2001 Ansett creditors voted in favour of the Tesna consortium led by Melbourne businessmen Solomon Lew and Lindsay Fox, to purchase Ansett's mainline assets. The plan involved creating a whole "new" Ansett out of the ashes of the old, (with the "Australia" dropped from the name as per Ansett MK II) but the trademark font and "Star Mark" logo re-instated. It would be a full service, two class single fleet type domestic airline. It included very reduced staff numbers and an all new Airbus A320 fleet. The new Ansett would operate out of the old Ansett terminals, temporary lease the former Ansett's A320 fleet until younger replacements arrived, while products such as the Golden Wing Club and Frequent Flyer program would be relaunched. Those members of Golden Wing Club at the time of the collapse would have their memberships re-instated for a six-month period if they used the new Ansett. A new CEO was sourced and hired, and began to put together a new management team. A new Head Office was planned, and Airbus showcased a new A320 to the consortium. A new catering company was selected – with new Business and Economy Class in-flight meals trialled on passengers on select MK II services in readiness for the new operation.

The agreement with Ansett's administrators, although well advanced, collapsed in late February 2002. Without any prior warning, the Administrators announced on February 27, – just days before the new Ansett was due to launch, that Fox and Lew had withdrawn their bid, citing "Inability to complete the transaction on legal advice". A subsequent press conference with Fox and Lew the same day announced that they had received no support from the government for their bid, thus withdrawing their proposal.

With no other saviours, and any chance for Ansett as an airline to be revived now gone, the administrators had no choice but to cease all Ansett flying operations permanently at 2359 on 4 March 2002, with the very last commercial flight, AN152 from Perth to Sydney, operated by A320-211 VH-HYI[12], touching down a little after 6am on 5 March. "It's an end of an era, an end of a great Australian company and the staff now are faced with unemployment after this flight." said Captain Geoff McDonald, who piloted the final Ansett flight in.[13] Staff filled Golden Wing Lounges across the country for mass wakes as the final flights came into land. At dawn on March 5 Ansett had officially passed into Australian history for good.

Entitlements

By this point, the administration of the company had transferred to newly formed insolvency firm KordaMentha. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) began an investigation of whether Ansett had gone on trading while insolvent, and eventually determined in July 2002 that it would be too expensive and difficult to proceed with an action which would, in any case, need to be many separate actions on behalf of individual creditors rather than just one. With Ansett now grounded forever, the administrators began the daunting task of selling off Ansetts massive list of assets. This included its regional subsidiary airlines, which still continued to trade – despite Ansett being grounded. Its massive inventory of aircraft, Head Office, ancillery buildings, Engineering Base, Flight Simulator Centre, furniture, terminal leases, supplies, catering and amenities all had to be sold. A creditors meeting post March 2002 voted in favour of an organised wind-up of the operation, under a deed of company arrangement, as opposed to an immediate liquidation. It was viewed that a deed of arrangement would give creditors a greater return than liqidation would provide.

Laid-off Ansett workers were eventually paid most of their entitlements, partly from an $A150 million compensation package offered by Air New Zealand in return for having the ASIC enquiry dropped, but mostly through asset sales & leasing revenue. The Federal Government did provide a $A350 million loan (SEESA) which is being repaid by the Administrators at the same time as the staff are being repaid however, to ensure that there is no exposure to taxpayers, a $A10-per-seat levy was imposed by the Federal Government on Australian airline passengers. This has led to claims of "double dipping" by the Australian Government & a common misconception that former Ansett staff have been fully reimbursed.[14]

Administration & Asset Sales

A former Ansett 767-204 VH-RMO being scrapped at the Mojave Airport & Spaceport

The Ansett Australia administration is being conducted in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, by KordaMentha Pty Ltd. The process of administration of the companies' assets continues to this day with employees receiving $A667.7 million out of entitlements estimated at $A766.4 million (or about 90c in the dollar)[15] and it is expected that another $A85.1 million will be raised. Ansett's administrators, KordaMentha, initially advised creditors that it was unlikely that much more money would be realised, due to the depression of the global aviation industry after September 11 reducing the value of aircraft from $A300 million to $A70 million. In the months following the final flight, the administrators negotiated the sale of the terminal leases back to the airport owners, recouping millions. Auctions were held to sell Ansetts airport furniture and equipment. Its headquarters at 465/489 and 501 Swanston Street in Melbourne were put up for sale and were purchased by PDG corporation. Some aircraft stored in heavy maintenance were broken up; 737 CZD and BAe 146 JJX being the first, as it was not cost-effective to restore them to an airworthy state.

The disposal of the former fleet did not progress quickly, given the events in the U.S and the subsequent lack of demand by other carriers around the world whose operations had been crippled by the 9/11 attacks only months before. Following the final flight, nearly all of the A320 fleet was ferried back empty to Melbourne, where they sat at abandoned gates in storage. The Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft fleets ultimately found new owners first, and randomly departed Australia between March 2002 and December 2006 as the banks finally reclaimed them, or as new owners were found. The two Boeing 747 aircraft that were leased from Singapore Airlines were reclaimed within weeks of the collapse and returned to Singapore Airlines, where they were repainted back into the colours of their owner. They subsequently found new lives are now leased to Fiji's national carrier Air Pacific. The more modern Boeing 767–300 aircraft, of which Ansett had two (BZF and BZL), were reclaimed by the lessors in the following months, while two new delivery Boeing 767–300 aircraft (BZI and BZM) which arrived too late to enter service with Ansett, departed soon after. BZI was wet-leased on a short term basis by Qantas to bring additional aircraft to cover the loss of Ansett, but the aircraft retained its Ansett registration while under lease to them. Another new 767-300 which was halfway through its ferry from Canada (VH-BZN) never made it to Australia and returned to Canada. The Kendell CRJ-200 jets departed back from Canada within twelve months of the initial collapse.

With the newer aircraft gone, most of the older Boeing 767–200 fleet (RMD-RMO) were moved from the Melbourne terminal gates as Virgin Blue moved into the former Ansett Terminal, and were placed into long term storage at the Ansett Engineering Base in Melbourne until late 2004, when most were sold off to Aeroturbine and flown to the United States to be broken up into spare parts. Many of the British Aerospace BAe 146 aircraft were also stored but broken up in Melbourne. As of 2008, the remains of a BAe 146 (JJQ) sit derelict in Brisbane, and a somewhat intact but inoperable BAe 146 (JJT) remains in Perth, although neither of them are still owned by Ansett or expected to fly again. One lone 767–200, the ex VH-RMF survived the scrappers cull, was sold and continues to fly in the United States as a charter aircraft.

More recently, employees of the former airline have received an additional $AUD 16.4 Million in entitlement payments after the sale of over $AUD 22 Million of assets, including aircraft and aircraft parts.[16] According to media reports, there are still in excess of 217,000 items and two properties belonging to the airline remaining for sale.

Fleet

Ansett A320 aircraft at Melbourne Airport after the airline's last flight in 2002

The Ansett Australia fleet as of September 13, 2001 (last day of trading) was made up of the following aircraft:

Only the Airbus A320 was utilised from Ansett's original fleet during the brief re-launch of operations as "Ansett Mark 2" from October 2001 to March 2002. The Boeing 737, 767, and 747 fleet was grounded from September '01 onwards and never flew an Ansett revenue flight again. The same went for the BAe 146 fleet, with the exception of a one-off revenue flight from Cairns to Brisbane in November 2001, operating off the back end of a charter flight for the government. Two other Ansett BAe-146 aircraft were chartered by the Howard Government and Federal opposition in late 2001 during the federal election campaigns, VH-JJP (Federal Government) and VH-JJT (Opposition).

Several of the defunct fleet types did operate ferry flights back to Melbourne from wherever they ended up across Australia in the months after the collapse, and operated the occasional test flight around Melbourne to retain currency.

Of the subsidiary fleets, only the Kendell CRJ-200 did not return to active flying. The Fokker 50, Saab 340, DeHavilland Twin Otter and Metro 23 regional aircraft were all back flying for Skywest, Kendell, Hazelton and Aeropelican in the weeks following the collapse.

Historically one of the most unusual aircraft that was operated by Ansett was the Douglas DC-4 / C-54 oversized freighter conversion ATL-98 Carvair from the 1960s. Three of the airlines own DC-4s were delivered to the United Kingdom for conversion by Aviation Traders Limited, the company run by Sir Freddie Laker as Managing Director.

Cabin Services

Ansett Australia offered up to three cabin classes (First, Business and Economy Classes) in varied seat configurations throughout its 66 year run. At the time of its collapse, this had reverted to just two travel classes (Business and Economy), both domestically and internationally:

International Fleet: (B747-400/767-300ER)

International Business Class

International Economy Class

Domestic Fleet: (B767-200/B767-300ER/B737-300/A320-200/BAe-146-200)

Domestic Business Class

Domestic Economy Class

International Business Class

Ansett International's last business class was introduced with the arrival of the Boeing 747-400. It offered forty-two single recliner seats in a 2-2-2 configuration on the main deck, with around 160 degrees of recline. Ansett Australia's retrofitted two Boeing 747-400 series aircraft equipped with these recliner seats mostly served the Australia-Asia (Hong Kong and Osaka) international flights. The recliner seats were equipped with inflight entertainment including personal televisions/touch screens with AVOD, personal telephones in every seat and laptop 110v AC power outlets.

On Ansett International's 767 fleet, Business seating was in a 1-2-2 configuration, with recliner seats and AVOD similar, but not identical to those on the B747.

Domestic Business Class

Originally launched as "BusinessFirst" in 1997, and then reverting back to just "Business Class" in 1999, Ansett Domestic's last business class offered twenty-four single lounge chair seats grouped in groups of two allowing a more spacious area on its domestic configured 767-300ER and 200ER/200 fleet in a 2-2-2 configuration. Ansett Australia's domestic business class seats were also installed on the Airbus A320-200 series, the Boeing 737-300 series, and the BAe-146 fleet in a 2–2 layout. These aircraft mostly served Australian domestic flights, however select 767-200ER, A320 and 737 services were also used on the Australia-Asia/Fiji (Denpasar, Hong Kong and Nadi) international flights as demand dictated.

International Economy Class

The new international economy class was introduced with the arrival of the Boeing 747-400. It offered 398 seats (747) equipped with adjustable wings in the headrest and an adjustable footrest to provide extra comfort. Ansett Australia's international economy class seats were also installed on some of the Boeing 767-200 series, and some of the Boeing 767-300 series. Seat rows were in a 3-4-3 configuration on the Boeing 747-400 series aircraft lower deck and mostly a 3–3 configuration on the upper deck, a 2-3-2 configuration on the Boeing 767-200 and Boeing 767-300 series aircraft. The Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 fleets retained their domestic configuration for international service. These aircraft mostly served Australian domestic flights and some of the Australia-Asia/Fiji (Denpasar, Hong Kong, Osaka and Nadi) international flights. The seats were equipped with inflight entertainment including personal televisions and personal telephones in every seat.

Domestic Economy Class

The new domestic economy class was also introduced with the arrival of the Boeing 767-300ER, offering 224 seats. Ansett Australia's domestic economy class seats were also installed on some of the Airbus A320 series, some of the BAe-146 series, some of the Boeing 737-300 series, some of the Boeing 767-200 series and some of the Boeing 767-300 series aircraft. Seat rows were in a 3–3 configuration on the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737-300 series aircraft, a 2–2 configuration on the BAe 146 series aircraft and a 2-3-2 configuration on the Boeing 767-200 and Boeing 767-300 series aircraft. These aircraft mostly served Australian domestic flights and some of the Australia-Asia/Fiji (Denpasar, Hong Kong and Nadi) international flights.

Ansett Mark II Cabin

Following Ansett's limited re-launch under administration, it operated only Economy Class with a scaled back no-frills service. Those A320s with convertible Business Class seating were configured back to all Economy, while the A320 cabins with fixed Business Class seating retained the Business seat but was considered all one cabin. Bottled water was offered throughout the flight.

Destinations

Ansett Australia operated to many destinations in Australia and Asia prior to its collapse in 2001. This list does not include destinations only served by subsidiaries Aeropelican, Ansett New Zealand, Kendell Airlines, Skywest Airlines and Hazelton Airlines.[17]

Oceania

Asia

^1 : Terminated prior to Air New Zealand takeover. ^2 : Terminated during the Asian financial crisis.[18]

Star Alliance

On March 30, 1999 – Ansett Australia joined the Star Alliance,[19] a global network of carriers, opening up interline agreements with a dozen different carriers connecting to over 100 countries across the world. Reciprocal rights for certain Star Alliance membership tiers was offered, including earning frequent flyer points and a wide selection of lounge access. The Star Alliance logo was added to every aircraft in the Ansett fleet, as well as its regional subsidiary airlines. Other Star member carriers like United Airlines benefited greatly by Ansett's membership, with seamless feeder connections from its trans-Pacific services.

Following Ansett's collapse, membership in the Star Alliance was suspended. It was understood that it would re-join Star upon re-launch under ownership of Tesna, but the March '02 shutdown soon made that question irrelevant.

Services

Ansett Australia offered travellers a range of services up to the time of September 14, 2001:

Golden Wing Club

Golden Wing Club was the airport lounge service owned and operated by Ansett. Members received a bi-monthly magazine called "Travelling Life", as well as many other features. Golden Wing Club Lounges were located throughout Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Cairns, Darwin, Gold Coast and Hamilton Island. Ansett also ran international Golden Wing Clubs at Sydney and Perth, with an added "First Class" section of the Sydney Club for those travelling International First Class from 1994–1998. Access was available to Golden Wing Club members travelling on an Ansett or subsidiary service (e.g. – Kendell, Aeropelican and Skywest) on the day of travel. Complimentary access was granted for Global Rewards Diamond and Sapphire members, as well as Star Alliance Gold (and above) members.

Lounges were for a time, located in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with members being able to access all Star Alliance Lounges as well. The lounges initially closed following the appointment of administrators and subsequent grounding of the group in September 2001, however select lounges re-opened in a scaled-back capacity in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth only from November 2001 until March 2002 while Ansett Mark 2 was operating. Had Ansett's sale to Tesna gone ahead as planned, the Golden Wing Clubs would all have re-opened in March 2002 as part of the relaunched Ansett.

Following Ansett's final flights in March 2002, the lounges permanently closed. In the weeks that followed, they were emptied of their expensive artwork and other items of value in subsequent auctions, leaving behind furniture and a variety of fittings, most of which was purchased by the various airport owners who bought the terminals back from Ansett's administrators. Today, many of the former Golden Wing Clubs in Australia live on as new lounges, occupied by Virgin Blue as their member lounge in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth, through leases secured with the airport owners. The former Golden Wing in Cairns was used by Qantas as a temporary Qantas Club while the Cairns terminal underwent redevelopment,[20]. The Perth Golden Wing was used firstly by charter airline Alliance and recently became Virgin Blue's sixth lounge. The Adelaide and Gold Coast lounges have been demolished.

Ansett Executive Lounge

The Ansett Executive Lounge, also known as "Ansett Pass" and "Ansett Managers Lounge" was an exclusive airport lounge service owned and operated by Ansett. Membership was via invitation only, and offered opulence and luxury to that of the world's finest five-star hotels. As membership was quite select, the lounges were significantly smaller than that of Golden Wing Clubs. Executive Lounges were located throughout Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth) and New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch).

These lounges closed at time of administration and did not reopen. In the years since the collapse, many of the former Executive lounges were demolished after the airport owners purchased the leasing rights back off Ansett's administrators. For a time, regional carrier Regional Express utilised the former Canberra lounge as a lounge area for their passengers. Virgin Blue utilised the former Executive Lounge in Sydney for their initial "Blue Room" and later on "The Lounge" product, but relocated to the former Golden Wing Club lounge in 2008.[21] The former lounges are still in existence in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra, but are now utilised for other purposes and not accessible to passengers.

Global Rewards

Global Rewards was Ansett Australia's Frequent Flyer Program from 1991 to 2001. It was formerly known as "Ansett Frequent Flyer". Points could be used for services from Ansett Australia and their partners including flights, upgrades, holidays, hotel stays and car rentals. Diners Club was a significant financial services partner in Global Rewards.[22] Points held at the time of the airline's collapse lost their value as no other airline took over the program as had taken place with the collapse of some other airlines.[23]

Chauffeur Drive

Ansett offered a limousine service, for those wishing to hire for journeys to and from the airport to the CBD in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney. It also offered airport-to-suburb service in Melbourne and Sydney.

Valet Parking

Ansett offered a valet parking service in major Australian (and New Zealand) airports. This also offered the convenience of kerbside check-in, and even car cleaning for additional cost.

Capital Shuttle

Ansett's Capital Shuttle operated between Sydney and Canberra. This service mainly used Saab 340 and Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft, with small use of A320 and 737 aircraft mostly in peak periods. The Capital Shuttle service was also given a dedicated gate lounge for its services at Sydney Airport.

Air Cargo

Also known as Ansett Air Freight during its time, Ansett ran a significant freight operation which specialised in the transport of items too large for normal carriage, along with heavy-freight contracts with numerous suppliers and contractors.

Terminal Transfers

Ansett ran a scheduled terminal transfer service at Sydney Airport, which offered seamless connection from its Domestic terminal to the International terminal for Ansett Australia services connecting to Ansett International. An Ansett bus operated the shuttle service which departed from a transfer lounge located between its two domestic concourses. The shuttle would route across the airside tarmac and runways and arrive near customs at Terminal 1.

Accidents and incidents

Sponsorship

Sport

Ansett Australia was one of the major sponsors of the AFL, holding the naming rights to the AFL pre-season competition, the Ansett Australia Cup. It was also a major sponsor of Waverley Park/VFL Park. The logo was visible around the stadium.

Ansett was also a Major Sponsor of Australian Cricket, with the Ansett Australia Test Series a prominent fixture of the Australian summer. Ansett's logo (called the StarMark) appeared on all players' training and game shirts, as well as around the boundary and on the field during Test Series.

The airline was the official airline of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

It was also the sleeve / major sponsor of the Brisbane Broncos National Rugby League team from 1996–2001.

Film and television

Ansett Australia sponsored the soap opera Neighbours in the late 1980s, having previously received publicity when its aircraft were used in the filming of another production by Reg Grundy — 1977's ABBA: The Movie.[citation needed] Ansett often sponsored Channel 9's Nightline late night news program from 1994–1997.

Ansett also offered on-board News and movies, entitled (Ansett Sky Show). It consisted of a twice daily 30 minute news service (AM and PM), which was recorded by Channel 7 studios in Sydney entitled "Seven Ansett News", which was then transmitted by satellite to all Ansett capital city, and some regional airport locations. The news service was then dubbed to video cassettes, and was then distributed onto Ansett aircraft first thing in the morning and exchanged halfway during the operational day for the second afternoon/evening broadcast. For the domestic fleet, Movies and TV shows were recorded to tape and distributed to each aircraft once a month.

On international aircraft, the news was available in one edition (usually morning). Movies and TV shows were recorded onto a central data system on both 747-400 and one 767-300ER aircraft, which was changed monthly.

Ansett's safety demonstration was done via TV screens throughout the aircraft as well as in person, at the time of its demise.

Documentaries and books

Documentaries about Ansett and the company's background include Air Australia: War in suites and The Ansett Story. Books have also been written, including Ansett: The Collapse and Ansett: The Story Of The Rise And Fall Of Ansett 1936–2002.

Related companies

Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services (AWAS)

The AWAS logo shares similarities to the Ansett Australia logo

Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services (AWAS) or simply Ansett Worldwide is one of the world's largest commercial jet aircraft leasing companies. It was Ansett Australia's subsidiary and leasing arm from 1985 until February 2000.[26]

It was sold to an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 2000 for close to USD$600 million. At the time of sale, AWAS had a leasing portfolio of 105 aircraft valued at USD$4 billion, with 47 airlines.[27] The Ansett name was retained as it was instantly recognisable in the global aviation industry.[26] Under Morgan Stanley ownership the company was renamed simply Ansett Worldwide, the Aviation Services being omitted. The Ansett Worrldwide fleet was combined with the Morgan Stanley Aircraft Leasing fleet, resulting in a combined fleet size of 180 aircraft by 2003.

In 2004 Ansett Worldwide was rebranded as AWAS. A company media release issued to coincide with the rebranding stated that the company had outlived its association with a failed airline, hence the dropping of the Ansett name. In the industry it was known that some customers had shown a reluctance to deal with Ansett Worldwide, perceiving that the aircraft available were ex-Ansett Airlines aircraft that had been sitting idle since the airline had ceased operations, despite assurances from the lessor that this was not true.

Morgan Stanley sold AWAS in 2006 to the UK hedge fund Terra Firma with management and operations relocated to Dublin. The AWAS name has to date been retained.

Ansett Flight Simulator Centre / Ansett Aviation Training

The Ansett Australia Flight Simulator Centre located in Melbourne, had continued trading under administration, following the company's insolvency as it was one of the few Ansett businesses that could operate profitably, independent of the airline. An agreement was reached by the Deed Administrators in October 2004 for its sale to Aviation Training Australasia Pty Ltd. The sale included the business, related buildings, land and the Ansett owned Flight Simulators.[28]. Nineteen former Ansett Australia employees jobs were saved in the sale, and Aviation Training Australasia elected to operate the centre under the trading name of Ansett Flight Simulator Centre and later Ansett Aviation Training, dropping the "Australia" off the end of Ansett, but retaining the well recognised Ansett Star Mark logo, reflective of Ansett's last livery.[29]

In April 2008, it announced that it was undergoing a major expansion and will be getting simulators for the current-generation Boeing 737, Fokker 100, Beechcraft King Air and Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia, as well as a second Airbus A320 simulator due an extension to centre's existing building.[30]

John Holland Aviation Services (JHAS)

With the demise of Ansett airline operations in 2002, the engineering services business, formerly known as the Ansett Australia Maintenance Base located at Melbourne Airport, was retained under the name of Ansett Aviation Engineering Services (AAES), primarily to care for the Ansett aircraft held in storage having mandatory ongoing maintenance, and also for other airlines supplying third party maintenance. Through five years of administration, AAES continued to operate despite Ansett Australia no longer trading.[31]

New business was secured and the engineering skills base continued to grow. The AAES business was acquired by the John Holland Group in June 2007 under the banner of John Holland Aviation Services (JHAS).[32]

As part of the sale to John Holland Group, 155 AAES staff and management had the opportunity for ongoing employment.[33]

Holland Aviation Services (JHAS) is a division of the John Holland Group, one of Australia's largest and most diverse specialist contracting businesses. It is the only heavy aircraft independent MRO in Australia.

Ansett Aircraft Spares and Services

Ansett Aircraft Spares and Services is a company that serves the aviation community by selling aircraft spares as well as maintenance work for airplanes such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, British Aerospace, Douglas aircraft and Fokker types, with offices in Sylmar, California, Surrey, the United Kingdom and Melbourne, Australia. Ansett Aircraft Spares and Services also has a logistics division.[34]

List of Associated Businesses

Both of Kendell & Hazelton were merged each other and became Regional Express after collapse of Ansett Australia.
  • Aeropelican Air Services, former subsidiary of Ansett Australia
  • Skywest Airlines, former subsidiary of Ansett Australia
  • Ansett Aviation Engineering Services
  • Ansett Aircraft Finance Ltd
  • Ansett Australia and Air New Zealand Engineering Services Ltd
  • Ansett Aviation Equipment Pty Limited
  • Ansett Equipment Finance Ltd
  • Ansett Flying Boat Services
  • Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services (AWAS), an aircraft leasing organisation which used to be a subsidiary of Ansett Australia
  • Diners Club Australia, credit card provider. 68.2% share owned, was sold back to Diners Club USA in 1999.
  • National Instrument Company (later renamed Ansett Technologies), originally part of ANA, an aircraft instrument and avionics servicing business. Also involved in defence electronics systems integration.
  • Austrama Television Pty Ltd, which commenced television broadcasting in Melbourne in 1964 as ATV-0 (later ATV-10).
  • Universal Telecasters Queensland (TVQ-0 Brisbane), 49.9% was purchased in 1964, with full control gained in 1970.
  • Ansair, originally a manufacturer of aircraft seats, the business diversified to bus and coach manufacture.
  • Ansett Wridgways
  • Ansett International Travel
  • Transport Industries Insurance

See also


References

  1. ^ a b c Cook, Terry (2001-09-15). "Australia's second biggest airline collapses". World Socialist Web Site. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/sep2001/anse-s15.shtml. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  2. ^ a b "In the national interest". Accessed 2008-02-16.
  3. ^ AeroWorldNet(tm)– AA 2000: SIA's Next Move [February 22, 2000]
  4. ^ Virgin deal 'could have saved Ansett' PDF, by Steve Creedy, Weekend Australian, 7 September 2002. Accessed 2008-05-09.
  5. ^ Ansett fate still up in the air, by Grant Holloway, CNN, 10 September 2001. Accessed 2008-02-16.
  6. ^ Westfield, Mark (2001-09-14). "Protests as Australia airline fails". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1544692.stm. 
  7. ^ Westfield, Mark (2001-09-15). "Absolutely– Going ... Going ... Gone.". The Australian. p. 35. 
  8. ^ Easdown, Geoff (2001-09-15). "Stripped of its cash.". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 9. 
  9. ^ "Stop the smear tactics says Air NZ". TVNZ. 2001-09-25. http://tvnz.co.nz/view/tvnz_portable_story_skin/59531. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  10. ^ Ansett Australia– Timeline
  11. ^ ansett chronology
  12. ^ VH-HYI Airbus A320
  13. ^ Quotes of the week | Article from AAP General News (Australia) | HighBeam Research
  14. ^ Air New Zealand
  15. ^ John, Danny (2006-12-28). "Making a success of corporate distress". The Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/making-a-success-of-corporate-distress/2006/12/27/1166895361377.html. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  16. ^ Australian Associated Press (2006-12-14). "Ansett employees get $27m dividend". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,20926927-5001028,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  17. ^ Ansett Australia route map – 2001
  18. ^ [1] Crisis clips airlines' wings, retrieved 14 December 2009
  19. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Air+New+Zealand+and+Ansett+Australia+Join+Star+Alliance,+%60The+Airline...-a054256119
  20. ^ http://www.qantas.com.au/info/flying/qantasClub/qcNews
  21. ^ http://www.express.bcdtravel.com.au/corporate-travel/virgin-blue-opens-flagship-lounge-sydney-airport/
  22. ^ "Ansett loses battle over Clearing House arrangements but wins Frequent Flyer case". DLA Phillips Fox Trade & TRansport Bulletin. 2008-03-06. http://www.dlaphillipsfox.com/article/134/Trade-and-Transport-Bulletin---Ansett-loses-battle-over-Clearing-House-arrangements-but-wins-Frequent-Flyer-case. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  23. ^ "Ansett frequent flyer members continue fight for lost points". Find Articles. 2002-02-20. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CWU/is_2002_Feb_20/ai_83089285. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  24. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19611130-1. Retrieved 2 October 2009. 
  25. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19660922-1. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 
  26. ^ a b http://www.touchbriefings.com/pdf/12/avia031_t_ANSETT.PDF
  27. ^ Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services.(sale to an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter)(Brief Article)(Statistical Data Included) | Air Transport World | Find Articles at BNET
  28. ^ Ansett Australia – Timeline
  29. ^ Ansett still flying
  30. ^ Global Aviation Express: Ansett Flight Simulator Centre: Adding Five More Simulators
  31. ^ Ansett jobs safe in new air services – Business – Business – theage.com.au
  32. ^ John Holland Aviation Services
  33. ^ http://www.leighton.com.au/verve/_resources/040607_mr.pdf
  34. ^ http://www.ansettspares.com/index.htm,

Other references

External links

Administration

History

Businesses

Employee Information and Support Groups

Official Ansett Merchandise


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