Qantas Disappointed with ACCC Final Determination

SYDNEY, 09 September 2003

Qantas said today it was extremely disappointed in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's decision to reject its proposed alliance with Air New Zealand.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Geoff Dixon, said it was particularly disappointing that the ACCC had not properly taken into account significant additional information and expert evidence that had been provided to the ACCC following its draft determination in April 2003.

"There has been a stark contrast between the process followed by the New Zealand Commerce Commission and that followed by the ACCC," Mr Dixon said.

"Last month, the New Zealand Commerce Commission held a six day public forum to hear evidence in person from interested parties and to examine new evidence submitted after its draft determination in April.

"This was an extremely informative week that, we believe, resulted in the New Zealand Commerce Commission gaining a much better understanding of the rationale for the Qantas/Air New Zealand alliance.

"The ACCC took a very narrow view of competition and consumer interests in its April draft determination, either ignoring or underestimating the significant structural challenges facing airlines around the world.

"This approach has continued, with the ACCC not adequately considering the significant further changes in our industry, including in our region, over the past five months."

Mr Dixon said Qantas was reviewing the lengthy Determination in detail to determine the appropriate response, including the possibility of an appeal to the Australian Competition Tribunal.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2958)