Ansett Airlines Shut Down; NZ PM Blockaded In Melbourne; Howard Returns To Parochial Political Realities

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has returned to Australia this morning to be confronted by chaos in the nation’s airports, following the overnight shutdown of Ansett Airlines.

AnsettThe airline was shut down at 2am today, but thousands of passengers have arrived at airports unaware of the closure. Passengers expecting connections with other flights are also stranded. Radio reports say that queues of up to a thousand people have formed at capital city airports.

The Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, has made a number of angry appearances on television and radio condemning the decision of Air New Zealand to cut Ansett adrift. Anderson claims he was only told on Sunday of the true extent of the airline’s financial difficulties. He says the Administrator appointed this week to manage the airline asked for around $170 million to keep the airline flying over the next two days. [Read more…]