News: Ansett hit with more Fed Court action

Old Feb 11, 02, 9:02 pm
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News: Ansett hit with more Fed Court action

Ansett hit with more Fed Court action
MELBOURNE, Feb 12 AAP|Published: Tuesday February 12, 12:32 PM

Ansett administrators face further Federal Court action after 12 hours of negotiations failed to resolve problems surrounding the lease of the airline's vacant Canberra terminal.

Administrators are due in court this afternoon to receive a key decision on their application for Federal Court support to operate at a $6 million a week loss.

If the court refuses to sanction the action, the administrators have indicated the airline may be forced to quit the skies.

In a further blow, Canberra Airport has lodged a Federal Court application seeking possession of Ansett's capital city terminal.

The airport has accused Ansett administrators of breaching the airline's lease by not operating an airline at the terminal, not paying the airline's pre-September 12 debts and refusing to pay rent for the month of February.

Relations between the airport and Ansett administrators soured on February 1 when Virgin Blue was kicked out of the vacant Ansett terminal.

Airport managing director Stephen Byron said the Ansett terminal had remained locked and empty for 11 days while Virgin passengers were being checked-in through makeshift ticketing terminals and forced to pick up the luggage from the kerb outside the airport building.

Twelve hours of negotiations last week concluded without resolution.

Mr Byron said he believed the issue of third-party usage had been settled before talks began and parties were discussing conditions and mechanics of the deal.

But Tesna responded to the talks with a one line statement this morning knocking back a proposed lease agreement which could have saved them $1.75 million - half their operating costs - over two years.

He said Tesna gave no reason for rejecting the offer although Tesna representatives had said the airport lease was not vital to the Ansett sale deal and was being used to bargain down a sale price with administrators.

"We can't go on with the airport operating in the makeshift terminal. The Canberra tourist industry can't accept that," Mr Byron said today.

Administrators today refused to comment on the latest Federal Court action.

[This message has been edited by RichardMEL (edited 02-11-2002).]
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