Thousands of Air Australia passengers have been stranded after the budget airline went into voluntary administration.
The Brisbane-based company said all flights had been cancelled and new bookings were not being accepted because it could no longer pay its bills.
Administrator Mark Korda said: “Well, what we’ll do is… Our priority is the passengers and the employees, then the next phase will be, ‘Can this business be sold as a going concern?’ Can we find a white knight?’, and then we’ll do our investigation. So, the next 48 hours we’ll go through that.”
Voluntary administration will buy the firm time to trade out of its financial problems. However, that is of little comfort to its grounded customers.
At Melbourne airport, one woman traveller said:
“The most frustrating thing is no one is here to help us or anything.. Yeah, we’ve tried calling and no one’s answering their phones or anything.”
Another said: “I’ve had a lot of flights cancelled in the last few years with different airlines, so it’s just the way of the world I guess.”
Most of those affected were on flights between Australia and holiday destinations including Bali, Phuket and Honolulu.