An iconic brand thought to be long gone from the Australian airline landscape has made a surprise return, sparking speculation about a possible resurgence.
Ansett airline collapsed in 2001 after it went into financial hardship and had to lay off 15,000 employees.
Its demise sent shockwaves through Australia, having been a staple of the nation’s airline industry since it began in the 1930s.
But the arrival of a shopfront in Redfern, in inner Sydney, with the Ansett logo on the door has caused online speculation that the airline is set to make a comeback.
Sitting between a rock ‘n’ roll bar and a Thai restaurant, the door on Cleveland Street recently caught the eye of aviation enthusiasts in an online blog.
The iconic Ansett Australia logo (minus an ‘A’) has been spotted on the door of a shop in inner-city Sydney, sparking talk of a potential revival for the failed airline
Situated between a health food store and an Asian restaurant, the mysterious door is located on Cleveland Street in Redfern
‘A colleague from Sydney has passed on this photo of a previously empty shopfront in Cleveland Street in Surry Hills,’ one person commented.
‘Anyone know anything? My colleague reports the shops was vacant until recently.’
A Google Street View image from July 2016 shows the empty shop available for rent.
Less than two years later the ‘For Lease’ sign on the door had been replaced with the iconic Ansett logo – a golden ‘A’ and seven-pointed star, on top of a blue background.
When Daily Mail Australia arrived at the mysterious door earlier this week it came as a shock to those inside.
Up a small flight of stairs, a number of casually dressed men sat around a table on a conference call.
Clearly surprised to see an unexpected guest, one walked over and ushered us back down the stairs to a quiet area where the phone meeting wouldn’t be disrupted.
When asked if this was the headquarters for a relaunching Ansett, the man laughed.
‘Not at all. We’re a podcast network, we have a studio up here and that’s it. I thought Ansett shut down 20 years ago?’ the man, who wouldn’t give his name, said.
Queried further about the reasoning behind the logo on the door, the man offered an unusual explanation.
Ansett was Australia’s second biggest airline for decades, carrying 14 million passengers at its peak
The end of the airline was one of the biggest business collapses in Australian history, spelling the loss of 15,000 jobs including aircraft cleaner Lynne Tomlinson (pictured)
Ansett ground crew member Narelle Davis (centre) consoles her distraught daughter Alison, 12, after the announcement that the airline would be grounding all flights on September 14, 2001
An empty Ansett check in desk at the Christchurch Airport after the Ansett pilot’s were locked out by management in September 2001
‘Obviously it’s a pretty well known brand, and we needed a logo so we could just say to people who were looking for us: “Come to the door with the Ansett logo”,’ he said.
Again refuting any links to the defunct airline, when asked ‘why Ansett?’ he response was simply: ‘Why not?’
The demise of Ansett from 2001 to 2002 saw 15,000 employees lose their jobs.
The pain was too much to bear for at least 40, who committed suicide in the years to follow.
Ansett’s collapse occurred in the years that followed News Corporation selling off its shares in the airline – 50 per cent – to Air New Zealand.
A whopping $680 million offer from the NZ airline trumped a $500 million bid by the Singapore Airlines group.
Sir Rod Eddington, who was CEO of Ansett four years before its collapse, believes if it had of been sold to Singapore Airlines it may still be operating today.
Behind the shopfront featuring the airline’s logo is a radio studio where podcasts are created. One of the owners of the business said they chose the iconic Ansett logo so that people could easily differentiate it from those around
In the wake of the Sydney Olympics, star athletes such as swimmer Michael Klim featured on billboards for the leading airline – just months later they would be forced into administration
An angry Ansett worker takes aim at the company’s slogan ‘Absolutely’ during a protest
Four months before its collapse, Ansett signed a new sponsorship deal with the all conquering Australian cricket team (Pictured L to R: Ansett Australia CEO Gary Toomey, Cricket Australia CEO Malcolm Speed and then Australian Test captain Steve Waugh)
‘I described Ansett publicly and internally as a great airline, but a poor business,’ Sir Rod said in 2011.
‘Air New Zealand didn’t have the balance sheet to support Ansett.’
The collapse of Ansett came quickly and swiftly for its passengers, employees and its shareholders.
Four months before, Ansett signed a new sponsorship deal with the all conquering Australian cricket team.
A year prior they had been the official airline of the Sydney Olympics.
Angry Ansett workers and their supporters gathered at Sydney Airport as part of protest rallies around the country on September 21, 2001
Administrators were able to salvage $727.5 million from selling off the company’s assets
At their peak they were ferrying 14 million passengers around the world annually and were valued at more than $1 billion.
In the end administrators sold the airline’s assets off for a total of $727.5 million.
Today, Ansett still operates an aviation training centre with flight simulators out of Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Ansett for comment.