Qantas Low Cost Carrier to be Based in Melbourne

MELBOURNE, 26 November 2003

Qantas announced today that the City of Melbourne had been selected as the headquarters for its new domestic low cost airline.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Geoff Dixon, said that Melbourne was chosen because it offered the most attractive package including excellent facilities, a skilled workforce and incentives.

"I would like to thank the Victorian Government for its support of this project," Mr Dixon said.

"The new airline will start flying to leisure destinations in Australia from May next year and, with its headquarters in Melbourne, it will grow to employ about 1,000 Victorians over the next few years.

"While the new low cost carrier is good news for the whole Australian tourism industry, today's announcement means that Qantas will further expand its commitment to the Victorian economy and Victorian tourism, building on a partnership that has been in place for more than 60 years.

"Qantas currently employs more than 6,500 people in Victoria and is a major supporter of a range of community, sports and arts organisations including the Royal Children's Hospital, the Victorian Institute for the Blind, the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and the Australian Tennis Open.

"Qantas has also recently invested $9.8 million in the refurbishment of Hangar 4 at Avalon Airport, which will grow to employ 300 skilled workers, and entered into a joint venture with Patrick Corporation to acquire the former Ansett engine maintenance facility at Garden Drive, Tullamarine.

"We also recently expanded our flight training facility at Airport West, at a cost of $70 million. This facility now houses our Boeing 737-300, 737-400, 737-800, Airbus A330 and Emergency Procedures simulator."

Mr Dixon said that further information relating to the low cost carrier - including its name, livery and fleet - would be announced next week.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2998)