Qantas Statement on Security

Sydney, 04 September 2003

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Geoff Dixon, said today there was no specific intelligence that Australian aviation interests at home or abroad were at risk from shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.

"Security and safety are paramount at Qantas and we take our responsibilities in relation to aviation security extremely seriously," Mr Dixon said.

"In Australia, the Federal Government, Qantas and the industry in general have been at the forefront of the implementation of enhanced security measures since the events of 9/11.

"Qantas has tripled its expenditure on security since the events of 9/11 and the company spent more than $180 million on security measures during the 2002/03 financial year."Mr Dixon said that it was important for the industry to achieve a strategic balance between financial sustainability and the provision of safe and secure national and international transportation.

He said discussion about shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles highlighted the need for a balanced approach to aviation security.

"Where there is a risk, the most effective preventive strategy is for the relevant Government to identify likely launch areas around airports - not for commercial airlines to install anti-missile systems such as those currently used on military aircraft.

"The cost of installing such anti-missile systems is huge and their effectiveness is very uncertain. It would cost Qantas US$442 million, about A$692 million, to install the proper systems on just our international fleet of Boeing 747s and 767s."

Mr Dixon said that a safe, secure and viable commercial aviation industry was essential to the economic and social well being of Australia.

"Qantas is committed to working with the Government and other industry stakeholders to achieve a security regime which delivers the best outcomes for Australian commercial aviation," he said.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2956)