Masterton's airline hoodoo has continued with news Vincent Aviation Ltd is on the verge of going into liquidation.

Only two months ago, the council approved a last minute bid by the airline to start a passenger link between Masterton and Auckland - replacing the defunct Eagle Air service - and turning down a proposal by rival airline Air Chathams in the process.

The decision to back the Vincent Aviation bid came after the airline's managing director, Peter Vincent, spoke to all councillors at a closed door meeting and despite knowing that Vincent Aviation's Australian arm had gone into receivership.

Now, ANCL Investments Ltd has filed an application in the High Court at Wellington to liquidate the airline.


Failure by Vincent Aviation to start the service would be the latest in a long line of on-off attempts to sustain a successful passenger air service from Masterton.

In August, councillors had been swayed to overlook Air Chathams' bid in favour of Vincent Aviation for two major reasons.

One was that Vincent Aviation would be flying a Saab 340, considered a better aircraft for the service than Air Chathams' Metroliner, referred to in aviation circles as the "flying pencil".

The other major reason was, by opting for Vincent Aviation, there would be no immediate need to extend the runway at Masterton Airport, thereby saving $180,000.

Yesterday, Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said she had not heard from Vincent Aviation about the liquidation application.

"But I will be following this up with our chief executive, Pim Borren," she said.

Mrs Patterson said it was essential Masterton had an air link to Auckland, and, if the Vincent Aviation proposal was no longer an option, "we will be actively seeking an alternative".

Wairarapa's passenger air service history is a chequered one with Wairarapa Airlines finally opting out in 1997, having failed in its bid to make the Masterton-Auckland route profitable.


It was followed by Air Wairarapa, which was short-lived and failed financially, and, subsequently, the Air New Zealand-backed Eagle Air service.

The application to put Vincent Aviation into liquidation will be heard in Wellington on October 28.