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Fox Group Close To Deal With Ansett Australia

Sun Oct 21, 2001 12:45 pm

21.10.2001 4.21 pm

Melbourne businessmen Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew have announced they expect to seal a deal with the administrators of failed airline Ansett Australia within two weeks in a bid to revive the group as a low cost carrier.

"We believe we can reach agreement with the administrators in the next week or two," Lindsay Fox told reporters at Avalon airport west of Melbourne.

Fox said the consortium was proposing an airline which would use 29 new Airbus planes representing an investment of about $A2.5 billion.

He also said the group intended to employ about 4,000 staff on the main routes and intended to service Australia's state capitals and some leisure routes.

The administrators of Ansett, which had 40 per cent of the domestic market before it collapsed, have said five potential buyers are looking over the airlines' books.

Singapore Airlines is also considering a management role in the carrier.

Ansett was placed into voluntary administration last month after its parent group Air New Zealand tried to save itself by cutting the Melbourne-based group adrift, putting more than 16,000 jobs at risk.

Ansett's administrators have recently revived a skeleton Ansett Mark II service, flying a handful of trunk routes and employing a fraction of the carrier's workforce.