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Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Fri Apr 13, 2001 5:20 pm

Well it's getting better...

Ansett Australia flies around Easter 767 crisis
Friday April 13, 1:33 AM EDT
By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE, April 13 (Reuters) - Troubled Air New Zealand-owned Ansett Australia expected to avoid mayhem for 35,000 passengers on a busy holiday Friday with the help of four borrowed planes replacing its 10 grounded Boeing (BA) 767s.

Australia's second largest airline was ordered by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to ground its ten 767 aircraft on Thursday, the busiest travel day in its history, and prove by May 4 that its planes were safe or lose its license.

Ansett spokesman Geoff Lynch said on Friday: "We have put together a recovery plan that has replaced all of the capacity lost with the grounding of our 10 Boeing 767s."

"So we expect to get all 35,000 customers booked with us to get to their destinations today," he told Reuters.

The groundings on a busy Easter weekend followed a string of 767 groundings which has plagued Ansett since Christmas at the same time it has had to cope with high fuel prices and cut-throat competition from two new cheap airlines.

The planes pulled out of service on Thursday accounted for up to 20 percent of the airline's capacity, "which is a lot on a very busy day," Lynch said.

Ansett replaced that capacity with one of its own Boeing 747s pulled off an international route, chartered a 747 and 767 from bigger rival Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN), a 717 from Impulse Airlines, and borrowed a 767 from Air New Zealand.

It also had to book seats on other carriers for many of its passengers, all at an undisclosed cost.


About 1,400 travellers were stranded on Thursday night after Ansett had to cancel seven flights without warning because they could not meet the air safety authority's deadline to be on the ground by 10 p.m. (1200 GMT).

Passengers who had been reassured they would be able to fly were furious about the sudden change and poor service from the airline, whose staff used a loudspeaker to tell travelers to go home because reservations staff could not help them.

"I totally do not understand how they can have a counter that has a sign with 'Customer Service' because that is something they do not understand," Stephen Lamb, who had nowhere to stay on Thursday night, told The Age newspaper.

Ansett's woes, starting with the voluntary grounding of seven 767s last Monday after hairline cracks were found on engine mounts on three, hit Air New Zealand shares and helped boost rival Qantas's shares during the week.

Air New Zealand's unrestricted B shares (AIRVB) fell 3.3 percent over the holiday shortened week to A$1.45 ($0) in a flat market, while its New Zealand resident-only A shares (AIRVA) ended the week down 1.9 percent at A$1.01.

Qantas shares rose 10 percent over the week to close at A$2.73, outpacing a one percent gain in the broader market.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said it was fed up with safety threats at Ansett, the latest of which was incorrect storing of emergency slides on a 767 last weekend.

"We are taking CASA's move yesterday very, very seriously, although we do not believe it was warranted," Lynch said.

"We'll be working very, very closely with CASA to gain a complete understanding of all of their specific requirements, and we will meet those requirements to the letter. We will certainly do that within three weeks," he told Reuters.

©2000 Reuters Limited.
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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Fri Apr 13, 2001 5:23 pm

Good post!
Glad to see other airlines helping - including Qantas

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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Fri Apr 13, 2001 5:29 pm

Yes good to see the availability of aircraft from the competition to help out. Naturally they would be flown and crewed by their respective owners so both QF and VQ have the opportunity to show ansett passengers what they are normally missing out on.
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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Fri Apr 13, 2001 5:34 pm

i want to know if they pulled off a 744 from their international route....will they have sufficient aircrafts for these routes???

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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Fri Apr 13, 2001 5:50 pm

Qantas is helping out Ansett but they are also benefiting from this incident . They are now taking all the stranded pax and well filling their planes .Hopefully Ansett will get back up soon , because they are going to keep on looking bad in the eye of the public.
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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Fri Apr 13, 2001 7:14 pm

If i was a passenger on board a flight booked on AN and this happened, i wuld be very upset. BUT i would also think to myself that they have handled the situations very well!! Hardly any delays as they say!! This would give me even more reason to fly the airline!!

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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Fri Apr 13, 2001 9:26 pm

my thoughts are that the reason the airlines are helping out is because:
- Impulse use to be part of Ansett so they feel obligued to
- Branson said, when coming to Australia with Virgin Blue, he didn't want to do any harm to Ansett because he likes them
- Qantas probably just wanna cash in... hehe  Smile
- Air new zealand are just protecting their assets

I could imagine on the impulse chartered aircraft, passengers should be served meals as part of their tickets is paying for this.

So does this mean we'll see a Qantas jet rock up at Ansett domestic?
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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Fri Apr 13, 2001 10:45 pm

I'm supposed to go on a 762 flight from Brisbane to Sydney in 15 hours (AN135). Let's see what they do about it and I'll post a trip report after I come back on Monday... See how they manage this...

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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Sat Apr 14, 2001 1:01 am

The airlines involved are not really "helping out" Ansett, in any sort of charitable way as a couple of people appear to be implying. They are sub-chartering aircraft to an airline that would otherwise be subject to a severely disrupted schedule, as such Ansett will be paying over the odds for these sub-chartered aircraft.

Qantas and Impluse will be generating substantial revenues from these sub-charters, while Ansett is hit by a double-whammy of having multiple aircraft out-of-service and having to charter capacity from direct competitors.

Qantas and Impulse are not so much helping Ansett out as profiting from their misfortune, on the other hand the Air New Zealand aircraft were probably obtained on more favourable terms given the link between the airlines.

I'm surprised Ansett hasn't made arrangements to use aircraft of dedicated ACMI operators such as Air Atlanta or World Airways, which are set-up for these types of operation and would probably provide a more economical solution given the nature of their business.

Although how worthwile this would be depends on how long the requirement exists for these aircraft, given the time taken to get suitable aircraft to Australia...

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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Sat Apr 14, 2001 1:09 am

I would think with all the problems Ansett has been having with their 762s that they would be finding permanent replacements very soon, anyone know when they plan on choosing replacements?

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RE: Ansett Australia Quickly Hires In Borrowed Planes

Sat Apr 14, 2001 2:04 pm

Yes, it is true that Qantas is trying to cash it - but that's natural ofcourse!!! what type of 747 is QF chartering to AN?

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