Qantas to Provide Freighter Aircraft to Australian air Express

Sydney, 27 March 2006

Qantas announced today that it would convert four Boeing 737-300 aircraft to freighters for domestic freight operator Australian air Express (AaE).

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said this was the first jet freighter conversion work ever to be undertaken in Australia.

"We will establish a new operation to undertake the work at our facility in Avalon, Victoria, creating 60 jobs.

"This new operation will convert four Boeing 737-300 aircraft into freighters and then wet lease this capacity to AaE," Mr Dixon said.

"We are pleased that the work will be undertaken in Australia. The engineering skills and facilities we have available at Qantas Engineering's Avalon base make an onshore option viable for this project."

Mr Dixon said that third party work such as this would give the Avalon base good growth prospects into the future.

The B737-300 aircraft are currently being utilised by the Qantas Group's New Zealand operation. They will be replaced in New Zealand by four Qantas B737-400s.

The conversion work will commence in April 2006 and be completed by January 2007, with the aircraft entering AaE service as they are completed from August this year. It will utilise conversion kits developed by Israel Aircraft Industries' Bedek Aviation division.

"Once in operation, the converted aircraft will deliver efficiency and reliability benefits to AaE and replace three of the company's fleet of Boeing 727 freighters," Mr Dixon said.

Australian air Express is owned jointly by Qantas and Australia Post.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3408)