'Inevitable': Council unlikely to recover Brindabella debt after airline grounded

ORANGE City Council will write off almost $43,000 owed by Brindabella Airlines for unpaid passenger landing fees as it all but gives up hope of recovering the debt from the failed airline.

The council was one of several left with unpaid bills when the carrier went into receivership in December.

Initially the unpaid passenger fees for Orange, charged at $15.95 per ticket, were thought to be $36,908.30, but council staff revised the figure to $42,682.20.

Councillors will decide at Tuesday’s meeting if the debt should be written off, with the council’s collection agency and the airline’s administrator indicating the council’s chance of recovering the debt as an unsecured creditor was unlikely.

Although Orange’s bid for a second airline failed, Aerodrome Committee chair, councillor Chris Gryllis said the council had no choice but to accommodate the carrier when it began its Orange service.

“With Brindabella it was too good to be true,” he said.

“I suppose we have to be a bit more vigilant with whoever comes up that the money is coming in on time.

“[But] in business these types of events are inevitable.”

DECEMBER: BRINDABELLA RECEIVERSHIP LEAVES CUSTOMERS HIGH AND DRY

Brindabella has unpaid passenger fees left over from as early as June last year when $8214.25 was owed, a report from the council’s financial services manager Aaron Jones reveals.

It appears October last year was one of Brindabella’s busier months, with the airline wracking up a bill worth $13,860.55 for passenger fees.

September’s figures were similar, with passenger fees totalling $13,079, but the airline hit a low point in patronage last July where $1754.50 worth of passenger fees were owed to the council.

The council began debt recovery proceedings with the airline on December 10, five days before the company went into receivership.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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