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Qantas Flies First Melbourne-Ayers Rock Non-Stop Services

MELBOURNE, 04 March 2004

Qantas will start non-stop services from Melbourne to Ayers Rock from 26 June, the first time the airline has offered direct services between the two destinations.

The Executive General Manager of Qantas Airlines, John Borghetti, said the airline would operate four Boeing 737 services a week on the new route, with one-way fares priced from as low as $199 (including taxes and charges).

Mr Borghetti said the flights would provide a further boost for Australian tourism.

"The new services will be operating in time for the Victorian school holidays," he said. "It will now be even easier for Victorians to visit some of the greatest tourist attractions in the Northern Territory, including Uluru and Kata Tjuta."

Mr Borghetti said Qantas was a long term supporter of Northern Territory tourism, growing capacity into the Territory over the past few years. "The new non-stop Melbourne-Ayers Rock services complement a range of other non-stop flights from the southern capital, including Melbourne-Alice Springs and Melbourne-Darwin," he said.

Chief Executive Officer of Voyages, Grant Hunt, said: "The decision recognises that the Red Centre is a much sought after destination and that Uluru itself has a powerful connection to Australian travellers.

"This new service will create at least $2 million of potential new business each year for Voyages Ayers Rock Resort.

"It will have an enormous flow on effect for the tourism industry and regional economy by stimulating domestic travel in a lucrative market."

Mr Borghetti said Qantas operated around 180 services into the Northern Territory, offering more than 22,500 seats each week.

"The new non-stop Melbourne-Ayers Rock services will provide a great boost for Victorian tourism. Uluru is one of the top Australian attractions for overseas visitors, and by opening a non-stop route from Ayers Rock to Melbourne, we are making it easier for international tourists to include Victoria in their itineraries," he said.

The new Qantas services will operate on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, departing Melbourne at 1000 for an arrival into Ayers Rock at 1220, with the return leg departing Ayers Rock at 1305 and arriving in Melbourne at 1605. Bookings and inquiries can be made via the Qantas web site at qantas.com, Qantas Telephone Sales on 13 13 13 or licensed or AFTA travel agents.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3045)
Email: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au