By Lesego Masemola

The future of cash-strapped Interlink Airline looks bleak and the company is at the mercy of a liquidator to determine whether it should continue trading or fold.

The company is reportedly in the red to the tune of an estimated R20-million which apparently led to its launching a voluntary application for liquidation in the Johannesburg High Court on February 23, with a return date of May 11 for a final order. Interlink became the first company to operate from the revamped Wonderboom airport.

The company's lawyer Shaheed Dollie said yesterday they were awaiting the appointment of a liquidator to determine the way forward. Staff at the company have been sent home until further notice.

A staff member, who did not wish to be named, said yesterday they were informed a week ago that they should stop working because the company was experiencing financial problems. "Lawyers came to us and explained that the company was in trouble; that it owed other companies money.

"We knew they were in trouble for a long time but we thought it was just rumours at the time."

According to the staff member, only a few people worked at the call centres.

"The rest of us are at home. Our salaries have also been frozen because the company is under liquidation," he said.

When the Pretoria News visited the company's website, there was no indication or any explanation of the airline's current situation.

Phone lines used to reserve bookings from the website either rang without response or informed the caller that the phone service had been suspended.

The Wonderboom airport management also confirmed that the airline was no longer operating from the airport and that a series of meetings had been held in order to bring a new company on board.

"I cannot say much at this stage, but can confirm that Interlink is no longer operational," said spokesman Peet van Rensburg, adding that they were awaiting feedback from a meeting held yesterday.

There were claims that the company was still accepting bookings from passengers, but Dollie rejected these allegations, saying that the company had ceased to operate on February 22.

He said passengers would be refunded by the liquidator as Interlink no longer had any authority over the running of its affairs.

Dollie said the airline's situation could change for the better as there has been a lot of parties that had shown interest in taking over the company.

Metro council spokeswoman Dikeledi Phiri said she was not aware of a meeting that took place yesterday.

However, there were talks between the council and Interlink and the Wonderboom management to discuss the way forward, she said.