Qantas Statement on ACCC and NZCC Draft Determinations

SYDNEY, 10 April 2003

Qantas said it would continue to pursue a relationship with Air New Zealand despite today's negative draft determinations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the New Zealand Commerce Commission.

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon said the two draft determinations were lengthy, totalling almost 450 pages, and it was not possible to give a detailed response immediately.

"However, what I can say today is that it is remarkable that both authorities appear to have completely ignored the ongoing crisis in the global aviation industry.

"The draft determinations highlight the growing gulf between the commercial realities and long term restructuring challenges facing the aviation industry and the pursuit, by competition regulators, of ideals and market outcomes that the industry simply will not be able to deliver on a sustainable basis.

"It is also extraordinary that the NZCC appears to have endorsed government support of airlines, a practice that has only compounded problems in the aviation industry. Just as extraordinary is the ACCC's view that there is no national interest benefit, as claimed by Qantas."

Mr Dixon said the severe strain being experienced by airlines worldwide had been well documented and was further confirmed overnight with Lufthansa, Germany's national carrier, declaring "a state of crisis".

"It is surely in the national interest for both New Zealand and Australia to have viable and competitive airline systems. This will not be advanced by competition authorities ignoring the realities of the world."

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2906)
Media Contact: Michael Sharp (02) 9691 3469