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Flight West Airlines.



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19 June 2001 A86/2001

FLIGHT WEST AIRLINES

The Federal Government is working with the major carriers to replace the services operated by Flight West Airlines.

"Flight West Airlines went into voluntary liquidation this morning," Mr Anderson said. "It operated a fleet of 16 jet and turboprop aircraft, and served 34 destinations in Queensland, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, and Norfolk Island. The airline's final service operated last night.

"Flight West has experienced a period of losses, and its board has been attempting to sell the business for some time. The company has codeshare and ground handling arrangements with Ansett, but it is not an Ansett subsidiary.

"The Federal Government has been working with Qantas, Ansett, and Virgin Blue to develop plans to fly the stranded passengers to their destinations.

"QantasLink will be operating a special return service tonight from Brisbane to Emerald and Longreach. Its scheduled Cairns to Horn Island service is travelling via Weipa to pick up 62 passengers.

"Ansett is now finalising a schedule to replace the Flight West services. It is chartering aircraft today to operate services from Brisbane to Hervey Bay and Brisbane to Bundaberg.

"There will be more special services operated tomorrow. Flight West passengers should check their flight details with their original place of booking.

"There will be delays, and some passengers will be stranded overnight. I ask that passengers recognise that the airlines are doing everything they can to fly them to their destinations.

"The major carriers have responded magnificently to the closure of Flight West. They compete vigorously, but have always recognised the need to help other airlines when necessary."

Flight West has advised the Federal Government that it will be able to pay its employees and creditors in full.

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 6277 7680 / 0419 233 989