In a move which will be of some comfort to the embattled airline industry, real estate magnate Lindsay Fox and former retail king Solomon Lew bought what was once Australia’s second biggest airline for A$3.6bn (Pounds 1.27bn).
Andersen administrator Mark Korda told reporters in Melbourne he was pleased to announce the sale of ‘the mainland Ansett business to Lew-Fox’, the consortium formed by the two businessmen.
The move, which has the backing of Australia’s trade unions is expected to save 4,000 jobs at Ansett Mark II and a further 3,000 jobs in regional air services and other Ansett businesses
Lew-Fox said it would spend $1.3bn (Pounds 900m) upgrading the ‘ageing Ansett fleet’ with planes from France’s Airbus Industrie.
The consortium fought off bids from Singapore Airlines, a consortium of Ansett workers known as ANstaff, and Lang Corporation, a cargo handling and port transport company.
Solomon Lew told AP there was a possibility’ Singapore Airlines would eventually buy a stake in Ansett and that talks were underway.
Ansett was grounded in September after being placed into voluntary administration by its owner, Air New Zealand, leaving almost all its 16,000 staff out of work and leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
The deal was cautiously welcomed by Australian transport minister John Anderson.But he said a number of issues wouldhave to be worked through, adding that creditors will have to be brought in by early next week before any decision can be made.
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