Qantas Defence Services and EADS CASA to Provide RAAF Tankers

Sydney, 16 April 2004

Qantas and EADS CASA confirmed today they had been selected as the preferred tenderer to acquire, modify and maintain up to five Airbus A330-200 tanker aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force to be delivered between 2007 and 2009.

Executive General Manager Associated Businesses, Denis Adams, said Qantas Defence Services (QDS), a wholly owned specialist division of Qantas, was delighted to have the opportunity to extend its relationship with the Commonwealth Department of Defence.

"QDS already provides a range of aviation services to the Department of Defence, and understands the specialised needs of Australia's defence services.

"This contract not only gives the RAAF an enhanced tanker capability, but will help to create jobs in Australia," Mr Adams said.

"Once this new arrangement is finalised, we will recruit up to 50 new staff to provide customised maintenance and crew training systems and programs to the RAAF.

"There will also be new jobs created as a result of sub-contracting opportunities in the Australian aeronautics and engineering industries," Mr Adams said.

Mr Adams said heavy maintenance would be undertaken at Qantas' new facility at Brisbane Airport due to open later this year, with operational and logistics support provided at the RAAF base at Amberley.

As the preferred tenderer, Qantas and EADS CASA - the military aircraft division of EADS, which is the owner of Airbus - will now enter negotiations with the Department of Defence on this important contract.

"Qantas already operates a fleet of seven A330s, growing to 13 by the end of 2005, so we are completely familiar with the aircraft, aircrew training and maintenance," Mr Adams said.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3077)