Qantas Statement On Australian Competition Tribunal Decision

Sydney, 12 October 2004

Qantas said today that the decision of the Australian Competition Tribunal to authorise a proposed alliance between Qantas and Air New Zealand raised significant questions for the future of aviation in the region.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Geoff Dixon, said that while the reasons for the decision had not yet been released the Tribunal must have accepted the thrust of the airlines' arguments that the benefits that would flow from the alliance would clearly outweigh any detriment.

"We assume the Tribunal also agreed with the argument that the alliance would be in the national interest," he said.

Mr Dixon said that, despite the welcome decision, the whole proceedings over a three year period clearly represented a lost opportunity for much needed aviation reform.

"We believe the disappointing recent decision by the New Zealand High Court to reject the alliance on appeal ignored both the reality of market-distorting Government ownership and intervention in the global aviation industry and the major structural changes that are occurring around the world," he said.

Mr Dixon said Qantas would stand by its decision not to appeal the verdict of the New Zealand High Court.

"The appeal could only be on an error of law and our advice is that it would have little likelihood of success," he said.

"Another 12 months of uncertainty, with the associated costs, is not in anyone's interests."

Mr Dixon said Qantas would continue to hold talks with Air New Zealand about opportunities to work together without breaching competition laws.

"We will examine the full decision of the Competition Tribunal, when it is available, as it may provide useful guidance for possible future partnership and consolidation opportunities that may arise in our region," he said.

Mr Dixon said the conflicting outcomes of the separate Australian and New Zealand processes also highlighted the significance of the Australian Productivity Commission's current review of how greater co-operation, co-ordination and integration of the two competition and consumer regimes can occur.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3162)
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