A plan is in jeopardy to re-establish a Masterton air link using a Vincent Aviation Australia aircraft after the airline announced it was going into receivership.
The Darwin-based company yesterday confirmed up to 120 staff were to lose their jobs in the receivership.
Eagle Air, a subsidiary of Air New Zealand, had on February 5 ceased its Masterton to Auckland flights.
Masterton businessmen Colin Oldfield and David Borman that month announced plans to use a Vincent Aviation-owned Saab aircraft to re-establish the passenger air service out of Masterton Airport at Hood Aerodrome.
The pair had won wide support for their plan and earlier told the Wairarapa Times-Age of hopes that flights would begin in April.
Mr Oldfield yesterday said he was unaware Vincent Aviation had gone into receivership and Mr Borman could not be reached for comment.
An email sent to airline staff yesterday told workers their employment had ended with the company.
The receivers, BDO, told staff their wages had been paid up until last Sunday and payment of their entitlements would be a priority.
Staff also have been told to return any company-owned assets such as motor vehicles, keys, laptops and computers.
It is understood about 120 jobs had been lost in Darwin, and another source said there was "nothing left to sell of the company".
Vincent Aviation had been flying to metropolitan and regional centres across Australia and also had expanded services between Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory and Cairns in Queensland.
Eagle Air had started flying the Masterton to Auckland route in February 2009, and up to March 31 last year had made 528 flights carrying 6927 passengers, averaging 13 per flight, according to Masterton District Council figures.
Air New Zealand had last year blamed the axing of the service on uneconomic operations and a lack of demand. The move was a devastating blow to Masterton and Carterton district councils, which had invested more than $1 million into Masterton Airport.
Should the troubled Australian airline be unable to continue plans in Masterton, it will be the second time an attempt to re-establish an air link has failed since the axing of the Eagle Air service.
Picton-based airline Sounds Air had made a proposal in November last year to run a 12-seat Cessna Caravan for morning and evening flights from Masterton to Wellington.
However, the same plane was offered for use on a Wanganui to Wellington service and Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford told the Wairarapa Times-Age the company had decided to run the Wanganui service.