Qantas Statement on Government Travel Arrangements

Sydney, 09 May 2010

The Qantas Group today welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of a new system for whole-of-government air travel.

Qantas Group Executive Government and Corporate Affairs, Mr David Epstein, said the new arrangements balance the Government’s stated objectives of both optimising cost savings and contributing to a competitive and viable aviation industry, without making radical changes to the structure of the marketplace.

“The principal change under the new system is the move from a multi-agency approach to a whole-of government process,” Mr Epstein said.

“However, the competitive environment for government travel will remain largely unchanged.

“Qantas has been operating successfully in an open and transparent fare market for a number of years – during which time all domestic and international carriers operating in Australia have been free to offer discounted fares to every government department at their discretion.

“The new framework strikes the right balance between fare levels and convenience as the criteria for whole-of-government travel decisions, and we are confident that we will be able to compete strongly on this basis.

“In some cases, the arrangements will allow for greater competition, enabling all carriers to compete on merit with no preferential treatment.

“The removal of the requirement for 25 per cent of government travel between Canberra and Sydney to be allocated to non-Qantas airlines, first announced by the Government last year, will create a level playing field on this route.”

Mr Epstein said the Qantas Group’s credentials were well-established in the market.

“We offer considerable experience in partnering with government, premium service and a comprehensive network and schedule, which includes both the Qantas and Jetstar product offerings.

“We are also investing significantly in our infrastructure at Canberra Airport, with new terminal and lounge facilities scheduled to open later this year.

“This gives the Qantas Group a strength in depth that will be hard for our competitors to beat and which we believe represents good value for the Government and the taxpayer.”

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (4068)