Qantas Statement on Drug Case

Sydney, 11 May 2005

Qantas said today it had worked closely with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the NSW Crime Commission and the NSW Police over the past five months in the investigation into the alleged cocaine smuggling ring involving Sydney International Airport.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said it had been alleged that the drug ring had co-opted a number of Qantas baggage handlers at the Sydney International Terminal to help facilitate entry of the drugs.

Mr Dixon said Qantas regretted that some of its baggage handlers at Sydney International Airport were alleged to be involved in the drug smuggling syndicate.

"Despite the alleged actions of a few, we believe our operational and security procedures to be amongst the world's best.

"Our staff screening procedures are very stringent and 41,000 staff have been put through the Australian Government mandated checks since November 2003."

Mr Dixon said that as the matter was before the Court, it would be inappropriate for the airline to make any further comment on the specifics of the case at this time.

However, Mr Dixon said that Qantas had conducted in-depth reviews with the AFP on any possible parallels with the Schapelle Corby case.

"We have been told, and our own investigations support the view, that there is no evidence of any connection between the allegations concerning the cocaine ring and the Corby case.

"We reiterate that no evidence has been provided to us by any Australian law enforcement agency to suggest that the baggage of unsuspecting passengers is being used to transport drugs on Qantas flights."

Mr Dixon said Qantas Security would continue to work with the Federal Government and law enforcement agencies on the issue of airport security.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3267)