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Qantas Statement on Safety

Sydney, 21 August 2008

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, today made the following comments regarding recent operational incidents and industrial action:

It is not surprising that after these incidents, some people might be concerned that we have taken our eye off the ball. that is not the case.

Qantas continues to have a world class safety record - its safety record is second to none - and we remain the safest airline in the world.

Despite all the changes in our industry - the price of oil, the competitive pressures, growth of discount airlines - one thing has not changed, that safety remains our number one priority.

All of us at Qantas are disappointed at the number of recent incidents. We do not step away from the fact that the incident on QF30 was very serious, and we don't step away from the fact that the recent industrial action did, and still is, affecting our operational performance.

However, we must keep some perspective. While we acknowledge the seriousness of the incident in Manila, the other issues that have been reported include a huge range of engineering matters that all airlines routinely deal with. We have cancelled some flights, substituted aircraft and delayed some passengers, just as every airline does. What we have not done, and will never do, is operate an aircraft that is not safe to fly.

Qantas mainline operates almost 3,000 flights per week. We spend $1.44 billion a year on maintenance, well above our industry peers. Qantas Engineering employees 5,600 staff, including 3,300 professional engineers, licensed engineers, skilled tradespeople and technical specialists.

The role of all these people is to maintain aircraft, to find faults and fix them, and to check and check again. And they do this very well.

We have very few incidents, but it is how we respond to such incidents, either big or small, that matters.

As was seen with the QF30 incident, our staff did what they were trained to do, and did it superbly. They were professional and above all they put our customers' safety first.

At Qantas, our policy is safety before schedule, which means that while we do not like inconveniencing our passengers, we will never shrink from cancelling flights and holding up departures when we must, because that is the safe thing to do.

Our safety standards and the quality of our maintenance have not changed.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3809)
Email: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au