By PAUL YANDALL
HAMILTON - The founder of Hamilton-based international airline K2000 has been bankrupted as creditors line up at the door of the collapsed "nuts and cola" transtasman carrier.
Jeffrey Norman Mathews was adjudged bankrupt in the High Court at Auckland on May 17 after a creditors' petition.
Mr Mathews and airline consultant Ewan Wilson, who earlier founded the failed Hamilton-based transtasman carrier Kiwi International Airlines, launched K2000 last December.
Mr Mathews was brought before a bankruptcy hearing in March for a debt owed to two Auckland men.
One of those men, Ian Studd, of Takapuna, said it was a personal debt of just a "few thousand dollars" and had no connection with the airline.
After appealing for more time to gather the money, Mr Mathews was adjudged bankrupt when he failed to appear for the May 17 hearing. He is believed to be in Australia.
Mr Mathews is listed in Companies' Office records as the sole director of the airline, with Aucklander John Green the only shareholder.
The bankruptcy comes as liquidation proceedings begin against K2000.
The airline is believed to have left around 40 creditors in New Zealand and Australia out of pocket and the High Court at Auckland is due to hear an application next week from the Auckland International Airport to have K2000 wound up.
The airport's general manager corporate, Chris Curley, said K2000 owed it $23,000 for landing charges.
The airline owed Dunedin airport about $3500.
An Auckland chartered accountant, Stuart Robertson, sent a letter on behalf of K2000 last week asking company creditors not to seek liquidation. He said there was little chance of a payout to creditors if the company was wound up.
K2000 was launched on December 1 with an inaugural flight from Brisbane to Hamilton. The airline promised super-low fares on the competitive transtasman route.
But just five weeks into its four-month schedule K2000 cancelled its transtasman service, citing a lack of passengers.
K2000 was last reported to have used its leased 185-seat Boeing 737/400 to ferry troops for the Algerian Government, after working for the United Nations taking East Timorese refugees home from Darwin in January.
By PAUL YANDALL