UNCERTAINTY surrounds whether three local councils owed hundreds of thousands of dollars by failed airline Brindabella will ever see their money.
The councils of Tamworth, Narrabri and Moree have joined a long queue of creditors – headed by the company’s bank – seeking to recoup millions of dollars.
Moree Plains Shire Council is understood to be owed more than $200,000, while both the Tamworth and Narrabri councils are owed at least tens of thousands of dollars each.
Receivers KordaMentha, which are yet to compile a complete list of Brindabella’s creditors, were fielding inquiries from other airlines about purchasing the company’s assets.
Brindabella’s licences to exclusively operate services to Moree, Narrabri, Cobar and Mudgee have attracted considerable interest from other airlines.
Michael Smith, a spokesman for KordaMentha, said it was clearly the receivers’ preference to sell the licences and aircraft in one package.
“The receivers are trying as hard as they can to sell the airline as quickly as they can and the licences go with that,” he said.
“There’s no question of relinquishing the licences ... that’s what we’re selling and we’ve had quite a few inquiries from potential buyers.
“It will take us a little while to work out how serious they are, but it’s our intention to try to sell the airline as soon as possible.”
However, a spokeswoman for Transport for NSW told The Leader it had written to the receivers asking them to demonstrate why they should retain the licences.
As the issuer, Transport for NSW has the power to revoke the licences if an airline – or in this case its receivers – are unable to fulfil the terms of the contract.
The department’s spokeswoman also said other air operators had made approaches offering assistance and had been referred to the receivers.
Moree mayor Katrina Humphries said the community was frustrated and felt as though it was “in no-man’s land” as it sweated on an outcome.
“I believe there’s a lot of negotiations going on behind the scenes, but we don’t have any input into it,” she said.
“I’m really hopeful that they will come to a very quick resolution on whether (the receivers) want to try and keep this air service route open or relinquish it.”
Narrabri mayor Conrad Bolton said the council was hopeful that an agreement between the receivers and Transport for NSW would be reached soon.
“We’re keen to see an outcome one way or another so we can determine what strategies we need to employ to fill the space left by Brindabella,” he said.