Air Australia goes bust: Where is the conscience?

ANOTHER one bites the dust. Air Australia goes bust, leaving 4000 passengers stranded in Bali, Thailand and Hawaii. The unexpected experience of an airline suddenly ceasing to operate is apt to cause a lot of frustration and anger. Stranded passengers who turned up at the airport were told that their flights were delayed because of technical difficulties.

Indeed, the airline business can be cold and cruel when a company on the brink of collapse continues to sell forward until the last minute. Do not even attempt to ask if it’s conscionable: caveat emptor as it were. At that stage it has become a matter of fate for passengers who have placed their faith in the airline’s promise of deliverance. Subsequent attempts at recovering the costs expended are usually fruitless.

Some 300 staffers who lost their jobs were not in any way less frustrated or distressed, and they were reportedly disgusted at the airline’s silence as an employer even as the demise became public knowledge. One crew member said: “None of the staff has had any correspondence of any nature from chief executive Michael James or any other senior management for that matter.”

Air Australia is not the first to default, nor, sadly, will it be the last, especially in these uncertain times of a continuing sluggish global economy and rising fuel prices. Unfortunately for many air travelers – and not completely without good reason – they just have to take the chance.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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