Read this article please, then tell me your opinion on the question at hand.
I'm sorry, says Ansett chief
By MARK PHILLIPS
ANSETT boss Gary Toomey flew into Melbourne last night to take charge of the airline's crisis as its 767s remained grounded indefinitely.
Facing mounting criticism about his refusal to return to Australia over Easter, Mr Toomey – chief executive of Ansett's owner Air New Zealand – abandoned his Auckland base yesterday to take over handling of the crisis.
He arrived as Civil Aviation Safety Authority engineers prepared to begin a physical inspection of the first of the 10 grounded Ansett Boeing 767s today.
Ansett's vice-president of operations, Trevor Jensen, has been managing the crisis in Australia.
Spokesman Geoff Lynch said Mr Toomey had been in constant contact with executives here and had been spending 20 hours a day on the phone securing additional planes from other airlines.
Mr Toomey said in NZ he would stay in Australia "as long as it takes" to resolve the crisis.
"I'm sure there will be individuals out there who have been delayed and I sincerely apologise," he said. "Obviously there will be some people who are upset and I really do apologise to them.
"But the majority of people are being carried and I haven't seen at this stage any great cancellation of bookings."
Australian airports are bracing for further chaos today as Ansett attempts to fly almost 40,000 passengers home after the Easter holidays.
In other developments at the weekend:
FOUR Ansett employees in the maintenance and engineering areas have been suspended, but will not be made scapegoats, according to the airline.
ANSETT has asked its Star Alliance partners for replacement aircraft.
ABOUT 25,000 passengers were flown around Australia yesterday with few delays.
THE Civil Aviation Safety Authority said it came close to grounding Ansett's whole domestic fleet of 55 planes on Thursday.
Ansett has begun an internal inquiry to determine if disciplinary action against the four staff it suspended is justified.
Mr Lynch said reports at the weekend that maintenance workers in Melbourne had blown the whistle about apparent safety concerns at Ansett late last year were "a furphy".
But Doug Cameron, national secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, warned any action by Ansett against its maintenance staff for telling the truth would provoke a strong union response.
Ansett finalised contingency plans late yesterday afternoon so it would have enough planes today to carry 37,000 passengers with minimal disruption.
The airline carried a light load of 25,000 passengers without any hitches yesterday.
Mr Lynch said Ansett had borrowed planes from parent company Air New Zealand, and Singapore Airlines to meet today's 9500 seat shortfall.
Any other shortage would be accommodated by rivals Qantas, Impulse and Virgin Blue.
CASA's director of aviation safety, Mick Toller, told the Nine Network's Business Sunday program yesterday he had seriously considered grounding the entire Ansett fleet last Thursday.
But neither Mr Toller nor Mr Toomey offered any reason why CASA decided against grounding the entire airline.
CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the authority hoped to begin physical inspection of the first of the grounded 767s some time today.
CASA staff are examining every document since Ansett bought the planes. Mr Gibson said it would be at least a fortnight before the entire fleet of 767s – which range in age from five to 17 years – was back in the air.
An Ansett spokeswoman, Heather Jeffery, denied the airline had been slow in providing CASA with records.
Engineers have been conducting random checks on all Ansett planes in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Ansett has been given three weeks to show why it should keep its licence and is believed to be losing up to $1 million a day.
This line in particular interested me: "ANSETT has asked its Star Alliance partners for replacement aircraft."
My question is, does Ansett expect some other star airlines to actually donate aircraft. I know Air NZ already gave them a 767, but that's because they own them. Which Star airlines have the spare aircraft to help support Ansett?
I think that United is down one 767, because that incident at OGG probably put it into the shop for a while.
Could Air Canada lend them a hand? They have lots of 767s and Ansett was expecting some from them anyways later in the year.
What about Singapore, I know they are probably still down one 744 and need to use all the aircraft they have. What about an Airbus jet. Either the 340, which would be better for Ansett, or even an A310. I wonder if they have any 310s sitting around at Changi airport that are probably not being used. I wonder if Singapore could let Ansett use them for a while. Could Ansett 320 pilots fly these planes, or would Singapore need to send their own pilots. Isn't it in Singapore's best interest to rid Ansett of its problems anyways?
ANA, they have lots of 767s. Could they (or counterpart ANK) lend anything. They have a somewhat close bond with Ansett, at least codesharing on Asia-Australia routes. ANK flies 320s, which Ansett would probably happily accept.
Sure there are 10 other airlines in the alliance, but most of them don't have a very close link with Ansett.
So what do you all think? Do you guys (and gals) think that they will get any donations (and from whom?), or are they going to have to continue to rent planes from Impulse and Qantas?