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Qantas Statement on CASA Review

Sydney, 01 September 2008

The Chief Executive of Qantas Airways, Mr Geoff Dixon, said today that Qantas would work closely with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to implement any recommendations contained in its review of the airline's engineering and maintenance operations.

Mr Dixon said Qantas had yet to review CASA's report in detail, having received it only this morning, but welcomed the key findings that:

. there had been no significant change in Qantas' rate of reported incidents over the past two years; and

. there was no direct link between the recent incidents involving Qantas aircraft and that the incidents were unrelated.

Mr Dixon said the findings were consistent with Qantas Engineering and Maintenance having undergone over the past 12 months more than 100 audits by external bodies, including 14 by CASA and one by the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) IOSA program.

"The CASA audits included a two week audit only two months ago which resulted in CASA renewing Qantas' Airline Operators Certificate (AOC) for another three years.

"The IOSA program, recognised as the benchmark for operational safety in the airline community, also gave Qantas a clean bill of health," he said.

Mr Dixon said in its review, CASA had also commented specifically on network performance KPIs and the management structures for delivering maintenance in Qantas.

"As we have publicly acknowledged, certain KPIs and despatch reliability have been significantly impacted by the industrial dispute between Qantas and the ALAEA over past months.

"These issues are not about safety or compliance and we are working to bring our network performance back to the standards which have earned us a reputation as one of the best and most reliable airlines in the world.

"These difficulties, while improving, will continue for a few weeks yet as our policy of safety before schedule is sacrosanct."

Mr Dixon said the management processes and responsibilities between Qantas Engineering and Maintenance and Qantas Airways were consistent with current regulations in Australia.

"However, we understand pending legislation may change these regulations and we will work with CASA to make changes prior to the legislation being enacted if requested.

"We also understand new legislation will make the proposed full maintenance audit of each aircraft type in the Qantas fleet (and all Australian airlines) mandatory."

Mr Dixon said Qantas would engage CASA in a detailed discussion on all issues raised in the review on the basis that:

. Qantas' system of airworthiness checks and performance targets were as rigorous as ever;

. Qantas was the leader in fully embracing CASA's drive for openness in the aviation industry through sharing large volumes of safety information: and

. the average age of Qantas Group fleet, which is 9.3 years, was in line with many of the world's major airlines, with older aircraft maintained to standards that exceeded manufacturer requirements.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (Q3813)
Email: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au