Who's in Fox-Lew crew?
LINDSAY Fox and Solomon Lew's Ansett syndicate is set to take another step towards take-off, with the imminent announcement of its management team.
Expected by the end of next week, the announcement is likely to reinforce the pre-Christmas boosts that the "Tesna" syndicate got from unions and two big US investors.
Among those rumoured to be in the new management line-up are: former British Midlands executive James Hogan, Hawaiian Airlines chief executive Paul Casey, and former Ansett International boss Garry Kingshott.
Signing off on the management structure will allow Tesna to concentrate on regulatory hurdles it needs to surmount before it can take over the airline on January 31.
Ansett creditors are expected to give Tesna the green light at a Melbourne meeting on January 29.
About four million people are entitled to vote on the issue, after administrators Mark Mentha and Mark Korda confirmed that frequent-flyer point-holders and Golden Wing members were unsecured creditors.
Tesna plans to start flying using Ansett staff, terminals and 16 Airbus A320s -- quickly bringing in leased aircraft to replace and expand the fleet.
The administrators insist Tesna is the best option. They've rejected moves by Virgin Blue and Chris Corrigan's Lang Corp.
The Fox-Lew syndicate got a welcome boost in the run-up to Christmas with news that Ryanair chairman David Bonderman and former America West Airlines chief executive Bill Franke had formed a company to buy a 40 stake.
And last week five unions covering ground-based staff, flight and cabin crew signed an enterprise agreement to deliver lower costs.
The deal maintains current pay rates and leave provisions, but promises significant improvements in productivity.
It's understood the Tesna syndicate continued to work over much of the Christmas break on operational matters such as regional ports, schedules and a deal to contract maintenance to Ansett's former facilities, which will remain with the administrators.
The syndicate is confident it can make the January 31 deadline, despite signals from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority that it will look closely at the maintenance deal.
Union officials also are confident it will be ready by the end of next month.
But there remain concerns about employee entitlements and superannuation for the thousands of workers not employed by the new airline.
As well, some analysts remain sceptical about the market's ability to support three airlines.
According to Centre Asia Pacific Aviation's Peter Harbison, Tesna is launching at the worst time of year in a market that already is oversupplied.
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