Shellharbour City Council has avoided the possibility of seeing two airlines flying out of Illawarra Regional Airport going bust in the same year.
In June this year, JetGo was placed into administration as debts mounted.
It folded a month later, after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a winding up order from creditor Dubbo Regional Council.
This week, Stratus Aviation Group – one of the two companies that were keen to replace JetGo – is itself in the same situation.
Stratus is the subject of a winding up order from Kirkhope Aviation, which claims it is owed around $80,000.
The case will be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court this week and, if successful, will see the company placed into liquidation.
Victoria Nomikos from Macpherson Kelley is representing Kirkhope.
She said Stratus did not have its own planes but would organise events – largely to race meetings around the country – and contract charter services to supply the flights.
Ms Nomikos said Kirkhope had not been paid for the charters and had been chasing up payment from director Simon Waters since February this year.
She said Kirkhope wasn’t the only company out of pocket; there was “a whole host of creditors out there with many thousands of dollars unpaid”.
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Some of these creditors had commenced legal action in the Brisbane Local Court, Ms Nomikos said.
“This guy’s been promising payment for a series of months now,” Ms Nomikos said.
“He’s been using every trick in the book effectively; ‘the money’s on its way’, ‘the transfer’s taking place’, he’s sent through dodgy remittances which aren’t remittances.
“It got to the stage where my client effectively had had enough and had to take a particularly aggressive stance.
“That’s why we’ve commenced with the winding up application.”
When contacted about the legal claim Stratus director Mr Waters replied via email, stating “we are in the process of restructuring, we had a dispute with a operator, which is being resolved. Nothing much to report.”
Shellharbour City Mayor Marianne Saliba said it wasn’t a matter of ‘dodging a bullet’ by choosing Fly Corporate over the troubled Stratus.
“It was prudent financial advice from our Chief Financial Officer and his team that ensured that we didn’t take up the expression of interest from Stratus Aviation,” Cr Saliba said.
“It gives me a little bit of comfort knowing that we have people who are able to assess the situation and come up with good advice.”