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Deadline for Bonza to find a buyer

Administrators for grounded budget airline Bonza have been given two months to find a buyer. Pictures: Darwin International Airport
Administrators for grounded budget airline Bonza have been given two months to find a buyer. Pictures: Darwin International Airport

Administrators for grounded budget airline Bonza have been given two months to sell the beleaguered regional carrier, as staff and creditors wait in limbo.

More than 300 staff were stood down when Bonza was unexpectedly placed into administration in April, sparking chaos for dozens of airline passengers.

The Federal Court on Monday agreed to extend the deadline for the administrators to find a buyer until July 29, with a second creditors meeting to be held.

Barrister James Hutton SC, representing administrators Hall Chadwick, said the administrators were hopeful they could keep Bonza out of liquidation.

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“Your honour could reasonably anticipate the extension of the administration or the convening period so as to enable an extension of the administration has the very real prospect of significantly improving the position of creditors, including employee creditors,” he said.

Bonza was placed in administration in April. Pictures: Darwin International Airport
Bonza was placed in administration in April. Pictures: Darwin International Airport

Mr Chadwick told the court that should Bonza be placed in liquidation, some employee entitlements would be covered, but not all – namely, superannuation.

Bonza launched last year as a low-cost alternative to other national carriers. In April, those same airlines were scrambling to help standard passengers.

The court was told on Monday the airline’s licence may well be its most valuable asset and was tied to the company’s flight crew which were stood down.

The certificate, which authorises it to operate as a commercial airline, is non-transferable and would likely be forfeited should Bonza enter into liquidation.