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Qantas Statement on Emirates

Sydney, 03 November 2005

The Chairman of Qantas, Ms Margaret Jackson, said comments made on Tuesday by Emirates President Mr Tim Clark in relation to the terms on which airlines competed ran counter to the facts about the aviation industry.

"To suggest that Emirates is competing on similar terms as commercially-run airlines like Qantas is, quite frankly, fiction," Ms Jackson said.

Ms Jackson said that Emirates was 100 per cent owned by the Government of Dubai and that government ownership provided a sovereign risk rating that allowed the airline to carry debt levels far higher than could be sustained by publicly listed carriers such as Qantas.

Emirates paid no corporate tax in Dubai and its Chairman, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, was a member of the ruling family and Head of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation, which also ran Dubai Airport.

"As Qantas has observed before, life must be wonderfully simple when the airline, government and airport interests are all controlled and run by the same people," Ms Jackson said.

"No one doubts that Emirates is a first class airline.

"At the same time, no one can be in any doubt that Emirates' remarkable growth reflects the aggressive and coordinated strategies of its owners, the Government of Dubai, to build a world class hub to grow tourism and business.

"This is a fact that all commercially-run airlines accept. It is time that Emirates acknowledges that it enjoys significant advantages that help set it apart from the field."

Ms Jackson said that the profits and ability to invest of Qantas and other private airlines would be significantly enhanced if they enjoyed the government-sponsored benefits of Emirates.

"As well as these structural advantages, Emirates is also benefiting in many international markets where the Australian Government has been unable to gain effective access or increased opportunities for Qantas to compete," she said.

"For example, most Australians probably do not realise that Qantas can only operate 28 passenger services per week between Australia and the UK. However, Emirates currently operates over 90 services per week between Dubai and the UK, giving it far greater opportunity to link the Australian and UK markets over its Dubai hub. Viewed in this light, Emirates' request to secure rights for 84 services per week between Australia and Dubai - double the number currently operated - is not only extravagant, but flies in the face of fair competition."

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3349)
Email: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au