Qantas Canberra Bushfire Assistance

SYDNEY, 19 January 2003

Qantas today offered free domestic seats to Canberra residents who had lost their homes to bushfires and needed to relocate to other Australian cities.

Qantas Executive General Manager Sales and Marketing John Borghetti said the airline would do everything possible to help people who wanted to fly their families to shelter and safety.

"We are also offering a special discount fare, available until the end of January, for people wanting to travel to Canberra to assist their families.

"We believe we will be able to accommodate everyone on our normal scheduled services over the next few days, but stand ready to add additional flights as required," Mr Borghetti said.

Mr Borghetti said Qantas was also:

* Arranging to fly volunteer firefighters to Canberra for free, including 60 firefighters already booked from Brisbane on Monday morning; and* Positioning staff from Sydney to Canberra to assist at the airport, and to relieve Qantas staff who had lost or were defending their own homes.

He said Qantas was in contact with support groups to investigate other ways of providing assistance for people affected by the fires, including offering Qantas blankets and free meals through Qantas Flight Catering.

Mr Borghetti said the airline would tomorrow launch an appeal for Qantas staff to donate to bushfire victims, kicking off the appeal with $20,000 and then matching staff donations dollar for dollar.

People wanting to inquire about the free seats out of Canberra and the discounted return fares to Canberra should contact Qantas on 13 22 23.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2856)