Brindabella hits runway to ruin

AIR services are in disarray and passengers have been left stranded after Brindabella was placed into the hands of receivers yesterday.

The embattled airline posted a statement online late yesterday confirming the worst, after a turbulent few weeks that saw much of the fleet grounded by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

All flights have been cancelled indefinitely and it leaves Moree and Narrabri without an air service, while Tamworth passengers still have access to flights with the Qantaslink route to Sydney.

KordaMentha were appointed  receivers yesterday and said they would be calling for immediate expressions of interest for the sale.

On Saturday the airline suspended all operations, after the national safety watchdog grounded six aircraft, leaving just two planes out of the airline’s fleet in the air.

Just after yesterday’s statement, Qantas announced it would provide immediate relief for passengers left stranded.

Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said Brindabella customers with a valid ticket will be eligible for discounted relief airfares.

“We are looking at a range of options to help the impacted communities in addition to special fares, including putting on relief flights outside our network on routes serviced by Brindabella,” Mr Joyce said.

“Access to air transport is extremely important to regional towns, especially for medical and business purposes.” 

The receivers said it was impossible for Brindabella to operate and it had started urgent discussions with the NSW Government and regulatory authorities about replacement services.

David Winterbottom and Sebastian Hams have been appointed receivers and managers, but have been unable to guarantee the future of the 140 employees.

“It was too early to predict the ultimate future of Brindabella or to be precise about the reasons for the group’s problems,” the statement read.

Earlier yesterday, Moree Plains Mayor Katrina Humphries said it was crystal clear there was serious problems.

“The writing was on the wall,” she said.

“It’s hugely disruptive and my biggest concern has been the people that are sick.

“We’ve had a very, very difficult six weeks ... we did everything humanely possible to keep an air service going, but in the end there wasn’t anything anyone could do.”

Transport NSW said passengers would be bussed from Moree and Narrabri to Tamworth to connect customers with other services in the interim.

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