THE decision of creditors to allow the Hazelton administrator to continue to run the airline should be welcomed by all stakeholders.
The airline now has an opportunity not only to satisfy creditors but demonstrate its potential as a viable and profitable concern.
No-one - creditors, employees or passengers - would have benefited by a vote to wind up the company.
The question that emerged at yesterday’s meeting of creditors was whether the regional carrier should have been grounded in the first place.
Hazelton administrator Michael Humphris of Sims Lockwood raises the argument, based on the balance sheet position, cash flow and liquidity, that the company was solvent at the time the administrator was appointed.
An Ansett subsidiary, the carrier shared its parent’s fate and was grounded on September 12 following the Ansett collapse.
Mr Humphris argues that the decision of the former administrator to close the airline made it far more difficult for him to rebuild Hazelton.
The airline had reached 45 per cent capacity by the end of November, with the threshhold for profitable operations being 60 per cent. This target was not expected to be met until March, the intervening holiday period impacting on the mainstay business travel component of the operations.
The issue of the carrier’s grounding may well be resolved in the courts; Mr Humphris is now receiving legal advice.
What is important now is that Hazelton be given the time and support it needs to prove itself an attractive prospect for a buyer.