My Dad on Ansett - The Collapse

Ansett Australia was Australia’s second biggest airline group. The airline flew domestically within Australia and from the 1990s to destinations in Asia. After operating for 66 years, the airline was placed into the administration of Air New Zealand in 2000 following a financial collapse. 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.

Now I know this may be a touchy topic for some (In particular the salty Aussies and the defensive Kiwis).
As some of you may know, my dad is a former employee of Ansett. I was sensing that some of you may be interested so I did an ‘interview’ with my dad. I took questions that some of my friends on the IFC asked and answered them here.
Feel free to post any questions you have for my dad below and I will be sure to answer them.
Anyway, here are some submitted questions from the community so far regarding Ansett in general and the collapse.


What’s the reason why ansett Airlines lost all of there money? Submitted by @Callum_Brayshaw

Well, one of the reasons for losing their money was that they had too many different types of aircraft - Their fleet consisted of a range of planes including 20 Airbus A320’s, 20 BAE146’s, 1 Boeing 727, 24 Boeing 737’s, 5 Boeing 747’s, 13 Boeing 767’s, 12 CRJ-200’s, 4 DHC-6’s, 9 Fokker 50’s, 1 Fokker F27, 4 Fokker F28’s, 7 Metro 23’s and 16 Saab 340’s. Now ultimately this meant that they needed more people trained up that specialised in maintaining these aircraft and if they needed parts it would be very costly.
That’s why airlines like emirates are so successful, ie, they only operate the 777 and the a380.


Why did they let Air New Zealand buy them out even though there was interest from better airlines? Submitted by @Connor

Air New Zealand acquired full ownership of Ansett, buying out News Corporation’s stake for A$680 million, surpassing Singapore Airlines’s A$500 million bid.

At the time, Ansett had a big part of the market share, and Air New Zealand believed that if they bought into this there would be a big profit. Pretty much, Air New Zealand were eager for money and did it solely for the that purpose. Little did they realise that Ansett was having a lot of problems of their own when it was bought out.
And they didn’t ‘let’ Air New Zealand buy them out, they were forced to. Air New Zealand gave the highest offer and if they refused it then Ansett probably would’ve collapsed on its own.


What in your opinion was the business decision that led to the downfall of Ansett? Submitted by @Bev7787

In my opinion it was the buying of lots of aircraft in small quantities - my answer to Callum’s question earlier.
The substantially overpaid staff, an aging fleet and grounding of the Boeing 767 fleet due to maintenance irregularities - this all left Ansett seriously short of cash, losing over $1.3 million a day.


Was Air New Zealand the sole source of Ansetts falling? Submitted by @Connor

No, Air New Zealand was not the sole source. Ansett had a lot of problems before getting bought out (which I have stated earlier) but it certainly didn’t help that ANZ did buy it. Bigger airlines like Singapore airlines with bigger cashflow would’ve been a better option but Air New Zealand at the time barely had enough funds to keep themselves running, let alone Ansett.


How did Air New Zealand deal with Ansett being broke and what other airlines helped with paying back with Ansett being broke? Submitted by @Callum_Brayshaw

After going bankrupt, Air New Zealand pulled a “every man for them self” kind of attitude. Ansett was responsible for paying back their debts
Ansett was able to pay some back with selling their parts and stuff but really they couldn’t do anything
For example, in terms of superannuation and other payments employees were meant to be given, I (my dad) was payed this in small amounts annually. Like I would receive a couple hundred a year, 1000 here and there
Also, the people that had booked holidays after the bankruptcy were not given compensation


So what happened to all of their aircraft? Submitted by @Callum_Brayshaw

The planes were either scrapped or they were just sold on- For example Jet2 got the 737s, bae146s scrapped, a320s went everywhere
(one crashed in 2006)
The 767s were returned to lessors, sold or scrapped


How did you find out that Ansett had collapsed? Submitted by me

Well, I showed up to work on the morning on the collapse as per usual. It all started with the caterers deciding to stop work because they weren’t getting as much pay as promised. Followed by the refuellers, and so on. The last flights left when they could but the rest were grounded.


What airline would you go to after Ansett’s collaspe, if you wanted to? Submitted by @nativetoalaska

After the collapse of Ansett, I applied for a job at qantas and was chosen with 4 other people out of the 50 people that applied in the Northern Territory. I much preferred working at Ansett though.


And thats all the questions so far.
I hope you enjoyed this!
If you have any other questions about Ansett and the collapse make sure to let me know below ;)
-Josh

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How does it feel to know that ansett collapsed? Are you devastated?
Why ansett did not retire their older planes (fokker28s,b727)?

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I’ll ask him in the morning
It’s very late right now :)

What airline would you go to after Ansett’s collaspe, if you wanted to?

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I’ll still post mine so you can get to mine second ;)

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You mentioned it was a touchy subject for some, I have read the questions and answers (great questions by the way) but didn’t see much of an explanation as to why it was touchy. (Unless of course I missed it). Regardless why is it a touchy subject?

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Us aussies and kiwis, we’ve had some arguments regarding the way Air New Zealand bought out Ansett and as some may say, “destroyed” it.

I’m sure @Connor or @anon31652286 would be happy to explain 😂

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Great questions! I loved this thread great job Josh! But question, I’m not too familiar with the Ansett collapse so when I was reading I saw Air NZ went bankrupt after buying out Ansett, was the bankruptcy a direct result of buying out Ansett or was ANZ already in financial trouble from the purchase?

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Thanks for the feedback!

Ansett were in deep financial trouble and multiple airlines offered money to buy out Ansett. Air New Zealand had the highest offer with $680 million. Little did Air New Zealand realise that there were some problems that just could not be fixed and they were losing to much money. Eventually it all collapsed and that was bye bye Ansett.

Air New Zealand is still alive and running well today, in fact it’s one of the best airlines in the world in my opinion (that is behind qantas of course 😂)

Air New Zealand stuffed up and should’ve let a bigger more profitable airline buy it.

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Ah thank you very much for responding and for the clarification mate! Cheers! And agreed, but from the looks today, ANZ has recovered nicely and is doing nicely! Thanks again!

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This is actually really interesting. I’ve never been to Australia or interacted with any of those airlines so normally I wouldn’t care too much what happened across the pond, butbyou made me interested to research more into this airline. Successful post and nicely done!

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All AirNZ wanted was to make a cash cow. I walked past Virgin Australia’s lounge at Brisbane Airport today (domestic) and it bought back a lot of memories (of pictures) the old Golden Wing Lounge, with its new modern twist and all the gates now lined up with Virgin Australia aircraft instead of all the many different Ansett planes. I still feel grudgy at Air NZ after the collapse and refuse to fly them.

One day I’ll restart Ansett. (With a lot less aircraft types!) Dream big everyone!

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Mhm
If you successfully start it up, I can garante that I will try to become a pilot for them 😂

Thanks for the positive feedback all
It means a lot 😁

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I actually think they might be restarting (on a small scale) this year there’s been some rumours around recently.

Unlikely, but it could be done…

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You don’t know how triggered I am currently at his statement above.

However this is a great topic and is very informative.

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Wow, I never expected to see this. Great idea. If only NewsCorp’s only intention wasn’t to buy Ansett’s 51% stake (prior to the Air NZ ownership) for the sole purpose of buying Network 10, which was owned by Ansett at the time. Also, it was unfortunate that Air NZ outbid Singapore Airlines with money it didn’t have. Ansett’s fleet was already highly outdated and in need of maintenance after the TNT/NewsCorp ownership basically left the airline to die - they didn’t buy a single new aircraft. It has also been found that Air NZ passed their fuel bill, plus Ansett’s, through the Ansett bank account which makes me super annoyed. But that’s the way things were :(

Source

The second creditors report by administrators Andersen, released yesterday, said there was evidence Air New Zealand had engaged in “asset stripping” and the “inappropriate charging of fuel and other operating costs” prior to Ansett’s collapse.

Air New Zealand has repeatedly denied the allegations and the New Zealand Government oversaw a one-off $150 million payment to Ansett to clear the parent company of future liability. - Herald Sun

They were in a lot of debt, so the New Zealand Government fully bought out the company. It has now obviously recovered, seeing as the NZ Government owns 53% at present.

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Thanks for answering! And tell your dad good pick on Qantas! 😏

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Just learned something that Ansett existed. That you for showing us former airline history

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Luckily we still have some pieces of Ansett history left! Ansett’s training facility still exsists in Tullamarine, Melbourne. My plan for the future is to buy a small aircraft and paint it in the Ansett livery

I wanna train there

image

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