The 300 employees of shuttered Air Australia were given assurances through email by the company's director, Michael James, that the business was sound hours before it was placed on administration.
Air Australia collapsed on Friday, stranding nearly 4,000 passengers overseas.
Reports said that Mr James sent the email to Air Australia workers on Thursday insisting that business was as usual and the firm was managing costs and opportunities.
"Please ensure that you and your colleagues understand that the only correct information regarding our company's performance or group strategic developments will come from me," The Age quoted Mr James.
"All other unattributed rumour is exactly that, distracting speculation raised by those without our best interests at heart," he wrote.
In less than 24 hours after Mr James sent the email, Air Australia collapsed and placed under administration, leaving in the process 4,000 passengers stranded in Phuket, Thailand.
Employees said they were aware of financial problems after the loss of Air Australia's defence contract in 2010, but they apparently believed in the assurance of Mr James, said Jo-Ann Davidson, secretary of the Flight Attendants Association.
Since late 2011, several insurance companies had actually withdrawn their cover for Air Australian passengers. The last straw for the financially haemorrhaging airline was the refusal on early Friday of a fuel supplier in Phuket to extend its credit, causing the grounding of the jet and stranding of passengers.
Mr James has not contacted the employees and is believed to be overseas.
Following the collapse, Atlasjet which is a Turkish airline firm, repossessed an A330 aircraft leased by Air Australia which was stranded in Phuket. Three other A330s and one A320 leased to Air Australia are expected to be repossessed by their owners in the coming days by an American and a Swiss company, dashing hopes of resurrecting the air carrier and leaving holders of 100,000 unused tickets in midair.
While group coupon buyer Scoopon has refunded about $1 million in tickets it has sold on behalf of Air Australia, other travel agents refuse to refund the ticket holders on the ground that travel insurance policies do not cover consumers for airline failure.
Administrators from Korda Mentha found out that Mr James owns only 51 per cent of Air Australia while the remaining 49 per cent is held by its parent firm, Strategic Aviation Group, a Luxembourg firm that operates holiday charters in Europe. Strategic Aviation was the guarantor for a $1.2 million loan by Air Australia from ANZ Bank.
The creditors of Air Australia included airports, caterers and refuellers. The first creditors meeting is scheduled in Brisbane on Feb 29.
Ticket holders who purchased their fare by credit could ask their banks to reverse the charges, but those who paid for the tickets in cash are at a loss how they could get a refund. The situation led consumer advocate Choice to call for a better resolution system to protect consumers from failed airlines.
"It's a wake-up call to the airlines to come up with a decent dispute resolution system.... That doesn't stop insolvency, but it certainly gives better redress for those people who are affected," The Australian quoted Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn.
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