Qantas Welcomes Australia-US 'Open Skies' Agreement

Sydney, 15 February 2008

Qantas said today that it welcomed the Australia-US "open skies" agreement announced by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said the airline had supported the Australian Government's efforts to seek fully liberalised air services arrangements between the two countries at negotiations in Washington this week. This had been largely achieved.

"We welcome the outcome. It brings new opportunities for growth and competition. Importantly, it will assist the further development of Australia's aviation industry, as well as help increase trade and tourism with a major economic partner," Mr Dixon said.

The Qantas Group is currently operating at its highest ever frequency - 48 services per week - on the Pacific route. This will increase to 51 services per week as from March. In addition, the airline offers an extensive range of code share connections on US partner airlines to cities within the US, which can be increased under the liberalised arrangements.

Mr Dixon said Qantas was pleased to note the emphasis that the Government was giving to securing increased opportunities for Australian carriers.

"Further liberalisation of air services arrangements with a number of countries is needed if Australian carriers are to grow operations and match opportunities available to foreign competitors."

Mr Dixon said the airline had recently identified a range of markets where liberalisation would be required if Qantas and Jetstar were to fully implement commercial plans.

"We hope to see our commercial plans and priorities reflected in the Government's agenda for future air services negotiations," he said.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3718)