3/04/2002: Ansett Australia MK. II Ceased Operations

Today, in 2002, the second incarnation of Ansett Australia ceased operations.



March 4, 2024

DALLAS — Today, in 2002, the second incarnation of Ansett Australia (AN) ceased operations. AN, headquartered in Melbourne, was a major Australian airline group whose history can be traced back to 1935. It operated throughout Australia and, beginning in the 1990s, to Asian destinations.

However, competition from Qantas (QF) and low-cost carriers, an aging fleet, maintenance irregularities, and a top-heavy and overpaid workforce led to crippling financial issues. On September 12, 2001, the airline entered voluntary administration.

Ansett Australia Boeing 767-200 at Perth Airport. Photo: John Wheatley (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

Back in the Air

On October 1, 2001, Ansett Australia MK. II was able to recommence limited services between major cities using the Airbus A320 fleet from subsidiary Skywest. Plans were to grow the fleet to 11 aircraft, and 1,500 staff from the failed airline were taken on. Having AN back in the air meant finding a buyer for the company and producing some cash flow.

In November 2001, AN creditors approved the acquisition of Ansett's mainline properties by the Tesna group, headed by Melbourne businessmen Solomon Lew and Lindsay Fox. The proposal called for resurrecting the trademark font and "Star Icon" logo while building a "new" Ansett from the ashes of the old.

Several AN Airbus A230s at Melbourne. Photo: KjdCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


However, despite being well-advanced, the deal with AN's administrators fell apart in late February 2002. Without notice, the administrators declared on February 27 that Lew and Fox had withdrawn their offer, citing the "inability to complete the transaction on legal advice."

With no other options and no reasonable chance of reviving AN as a viable company, the administrators had no choice but to shut down all flights a minute before midnight on March 4, 2002, with the last commercial flight, AN152 from Perth to Sydney, operated by A320-211 VH-HYI, landing at 06:53 local the next day.

Featured Image: A320-211 (VH-HYA) of Ansett at Sydney. Photo: Steven BylesCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons