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Old June 6th, 2005, 11:52 PM   #221
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New carrier plans to cherry-pick LA air route
Scott Rochfort
7 June 2005
The Sydney Morning Herald

A team of ex-Ansett executives has resurfaced with plans to establish a US-bound airline in a bid to cash in on Qantas's golden Australia-Los Angeles route.

With Federal Cabinet expected to make a final decision this month on whether to allow Singapore Airlines on the Sydney-LA route, it is understood Australian Pacific Airways is looking to lease two Boeing 747-400s to fly from Sydney (and possibly Melbourne) to Los Angeles.

The would-be airline's chief executive Chris Youlten said the company already had spent $500,000 on a business plan for the carrier and had the support of a number of investors.

"We know what we are doing. We know how to write an AOC [Air Operators Certificate], we know how to put an airline together," Mr Youlten told the Herald yesterday.

Mr Youlten, who worked as Ansett's general manager of network operations, declined to detail who the financial backers were. But he said it would cost up to $45 million for the airline to get off the ground. Mr Youlten helped set up the low-cost Air New Zealand subsidiary Freedom Air in the mid-1990s and was the manager of American Airlines' European operations centre in the early 1990s.

Registered as a business last November, Australian Pacific has Ansett's former head of safety David Jordan and former Civil Aviation board member Anthony Pyne on its board. It is also understood there are several former Ansett staff on board.

The airline also plans to maintain its 747s at the Ansett Aviation Engineering Services (AAES) base in Melbourne, which is one of the Ansett assets still in the hands of administrators. Australian Pacific is using office space at AAES. Mr Youlten said the airline would not be called Australian Pacific.

And despite Virgin Group boss Sir Richard Branson seeking 51 per cent Australian ownership for his flagged Australia-US carrier, Mr Youlten said Australian Pacific had not talked to Virgin Atlantic or any other foreign airlines about the possibility of a joint venture.

With Virgin Blue joining Qantas's lobbying efforts to persuade the Australian Transport Minister John Anderson to continue blocking Singapore Air from the LA route in preference to Australian start-ups, Mr Youlten declined to be drawn.

"I think competition on that route is important for Australia," he said.

When asked about the impact of Singapore Air being granted access on the route, he said: "Obviously it's a relative setback if that occurs."

He said the airline also had plans to fly to China.

Asked why he had not publicised his plans when he registered the airline seven months ago, Mr Youlten replied: "Because there is so much bullshit in the industry."
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Old June 8th, 2005, 03:36 PM   #222
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Australia announces review of airport security

SYDNEY, June 7 (AFP) - Australia ordered a review of its airport security measures Tuesday to allay public concerns over a leaked customs report that found some staff at Sydney airport were involved in drug smuggling, theft and could pose terrorism threats.

Transport Minister John Anderson said the former head of Britain's National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) Sir John Wheeler would head the review, which is scheduled to report by September.

"We're very conscious of the need to ensure community confidence about what goes on within the grounds of airports," Anderson told reporters.

He said a separate review would be carried out into the backgrounds of all 130,000 airport and maritime port workers issued with security cards, known as ASICs, to ensure they were "fit and proper".

"If the police checks pick up a pattern of criminal behaviour or a pattern of involvement with people who might be dark and murky, if I can put it that way, or repeated drug offences, or a pattern suggesting they cannot be trusted... then we will withdraw that ASIC card," he said.

Anderson said he expected the probe to uncover a significant number of people with criminal backgrounds.

He said a senior federal police officer would also be appointed as a security controller at each of Australia's major airports to ensure various law enforcement arms such as state and federal police, customs and national security agencies worked together efficiently.

Closed-circuit television surveillance of baggage handling areas and aircraft holds would also be tightened.

Anderson said the measures would need significant funding and he could not rule out airlines passing on some of the cost to passengers.

"I don't think people would argue with paying another buck for a ticket for significant increases in their aviation security," he said.

The government action comes after a customs report -- completed last September but never publicly released -- was leaked last week.

The report found that Sydney airport baggage handlers had diverted narcotics arriving on international flights to avoid customs inspections and were "suspected of large-scale pillage" of passengers' bags.

It also follows flag-carrier Qantas' dismissal of three Sydney airport workers, including a senior security manager, following an investigation into an alleged cocaine smuggling ring.

The issue of airport staff stealing from passengers' luggage hit national headlines in April when a traveller complained that he saw a baggage handler driving around on the tarmac wearing a camel costume which had been packed in his bag.

Lawyers for convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, now serving a 20-year term in an Indonesian jail, have claimed that the 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) of marijuana found in her baggage were placed there by corrupt baggage handlers working for a domestic drug ring.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 07:37 PM   #223
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Qantas flight `missing' for three hours
9 June 2005
Daily Telegraph

AIR traffic controllers lost two-way contact with a Qantas plane for more than three hours after it left Sydney airport, bound for Johannesburg.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said yesterday South African authorities tried to contact flight QF63 on May 29, but were unsuccessful.

"They were trying to talk by a satellite system and a component of that system had failed," aviation safety investigation deputy director Alan Stray said yesterday.

"They then tried high-frequency radio, but it can be affected by solar activity and down in the deep south, it can be more prevalent.

"It's believed that was happening in the high-frequency radio system, and they couldn't hear the controllers." Mr Stray said flight controllers didn't fear the plane had crashed as pilots are trained to navigate without communication and would have followed the last directions issued by the controller.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 07:39 PM   #224
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Ticket prices could rise $10
Martin Chulov, Steve Creedy
9 June 2005
The Australian

THE cost of a one-way air ticket could rise by $10 at some airports to fund the proposed security upgrade if the Howard Government does not pick up the tab, the peak airport body has warned.

Australian Airport Association chairman John McArdle yesterday called on the commonwealth to cover most of the $200million to be spent on rescreening air and port workers and upgrading security in sensitive areas.

Mr McArdle said pressure on ticket prices would be highest at smaller airports such as Alice Springs and Adelaide, where fixed costs were high but passenger numbers comparatively low.

"For example, Max (Moore-Wilton, Sydney Airports chief) has 27million passengers through Sydney each year," he said. "At $1each ticket, that's a big bite out of the overall bill. But elsewhere you are looking at $5 to $10.

"We certainly don't deny the worth of the package, but it's fair that the federal Government bear the burden."

The nation's peak tourism group warned that any further ticket taxes would deter people from flying. Tourism Task Force managing director Chris Brown urged the Government to use consolidated revenue or dip into its $10billion windfall from airport privatisation to help pay for the added security.

It is unclear whether the upgrade will affect only the 14,000 air and port workers with secure access, or extend to all 200,000 employees.

Mr Brown said the Government should stop assuming it could fund security "out of the pocket of the poor travelling public". He also said it had failed to employ enough Customs, immigration and quarantine officers.

"We've got a $3 Olympics tax which has never been taken off, we've got a $40 departure tax that is just over-collected and not spent," Mr Brown said.

He said he did not believe society had reached a stage where customers had to pay for their own crime prevention.

Board of Airline Representatives of Australia executive director Warren Bennett said airlines applauded putting senior federal police at all airports, but said it should be government funded.
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Old June 9th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #225
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Qantas baggage handler arrested at Sydney Airport in cocaine smuggling case
9 June 2005

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Police arrested a Qantas baggage handler Thursday and charged him with involvement in a cocaine smuggling operation at Sydney Airport.

New South Wales state Drug Squad Commander Detective Superintendent David Laidlaw said the 40-year-old baggage handler, whose name was not released, was arrested while at work at the Qantas domestic terminal.

Police charged him with being an accessory after the fact in a plot to supply a commercial quantity of the drug.

Detectives say he tried to locate a friend's bag which contained 60,000 Australian dollars (US$46,040; euro37,358) worth of cocaine, after hearing drug squad officers had seized the bag in February this year.

The arrest came two days after the government announced a major review of airport security, following a string of allegations that baggage handlers were involved in drug trafficking.

The man alleged to have owned the bag, Kyran Frederick Terry, appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court on Thursday charged with possession and supply of cocaine. He was not required to enter a plea.

The issue of airport security has been under intense scrutiny in Australia in recent weeks after Schapelle Corby, a beauty school student arrested for marijuana smuggling on the Indonesian island of Bali last year, claimed the drugs Indonesian officials found in her surfboard bag were planted there by airport staff in Australia.

A court in Bali rejected Corby's defense and sentenced her to 20 years in a case that sparked a strong anti-Indonesia backlash among her Australian supporters.
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Old June 11th, 2005, 03:11 AM   #226
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New routes from Qantas
11 June 2005
The Advertiser

QANTAS'S regional carrier, Australian Airlines, is putting on four new services between Cairns and the Japanese cities of Nagoya and Sapporo.

Australian Airlines currently operates daily non-stop flights between Nagoya and Cairns and will add two more flights, on Wednesdays and Fridays, from August 3.

Non-stop flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays between Sapporo and Cairns will be added from November 2.
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Old June 11th, 2005, 09:07 AM   #227
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Saturday June 11, 12:02 PM
Australia refuses to give Singapore Airlines access to Pacific route

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia has delayed granting Singapore Airlines (SIA) access to the lucrative Australia-US route indefinitely as it prepares for a review of the aviation industry that could remove foreign ownership restrictions on Qantas.

The Weekend Australian newspaper said Saturday Prime Minister John Howard phoned his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong Friday to tell him of the decision, which follows three years of lobbying for SIA access to the route.

SIA had sought to break Qantas Airways' stranglehold on the route, which it estimates is costing Australia more than 90 million US dollars a year in lost tourism revenue.

Qantas makes about 15 percent of its profits from the Australia-Los Angeles route, where it controls about 75 percent of direct flights and United Airlines has the remaining 25 percent.

Australia suspended talks on an open skies deal with Singapore in 2003, saying it wanted to wait until the world aviation market stabilised following a series of shocks caused by SARS, terrorism and the Iraq war.

Instead of treating the issue in isolation, Canberra would now include it in a wide-ranging aviation review that will also consider foreign ownership restrictions on Qantas and foreign airlines' access into Australia, the newspaper reported.
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Old June 12th, 2005, 06:17 AM   #228
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World logs on to Jetstar
Chris Milne
10 June 2005
Australian Financial Review

Internet surfers are proving a bonus for Jetstar, with budget-conscious overseas travellers targeting its services.

Before the planned launch of trans-Tasman services at the end of the year, Jetstar chief executive Alan Joyce said about 10 per cent of the airline's passengers were overseas visitors to Australia, with a significant proportion booking over the internet.

After launching the Adelaide-Cairns service, which the state government hoped would increase international tourism to South Australia, Mr Joyce said Jetstar's link with parent Qantas and stablemate Australian Airlines in Cairns was helping to boost international traffic for the year-old carrier.

Qantas operated 14 international flights a week and Australian Airlines 23 flights a week into Cairns, he said.

Serving eight points along the Queensland coast, including Whitsunday gateways Hamilton Island and Proserpine, also helped to develop the international business.

Jetstar corporate relations manager Simon Westaway said overseas visitors using Jetstar were not just backpackers on a cheap holiday.

Some travellers were using the airline's low fares to combine with higher-price resort hotels.

While overseas tourists booking on the internet were the main source of international passengers for Jetstar's point-to-point services, the airline was also developing partnerships with overseas tour wholesalers, Mr Westaway said.

Apart from expanding its Australian network, Jetstar will start services to New Zealand by the end of the year, and plans to code-share with Qantas to some destinations, which will increase its exposure to overseas bookings.

Jetstar carried about four million passengers in its first year of operations after starting services in May last year.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 05:16 AM   #229
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India flights 'the key'
John Kerin
9 June 2005
The Australian

QANTAS must introduce more direct flights to Indian cities if Australia is to take full advantage of a burgeoning economic and trade relationship, Alexander Downer said last night.

The Foreign Minister told a business dinner in Chennai the two countries were at a historic juncture with tremendous opportunity to expand trade in commodities such as coal and gas, and services such as tourism.

"Direct flights between India and Australia are too limited, and we need to encourage airlines to take the opportunity that the air services agreement between Australia and India provides," Mr Downer said.

"I think the fact that we only have one direct service between Australia and India through Bombay or Mumbai is pretty disappointing.

"There is a strong argument for a direct service to Chennai as well as to Mumbai and no doubt to a lot of other places.

"As student numbers grow, the tourism numbers grow, the business links expand, the demand in the air services will increase.

"I hope that will happen before too long."

Mr Downer told the gathering earlier that there was a "natural complementarity" between the two economies.

He also pledged to address concerns expressed by Indian business chiefs over limitations on the length of business visas.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 11:27 PM   #230
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Virgin in trans-Pacific route push
Laura Tingle
14 June 2005
Australian Financial Review

Virgin Blue has told the government it plans to fly the lucrative trans-Pacific route, exploiting a government decision to exclude its rival, Singapore Airlines.

The Virgin Blue pledge in arguments to a range of government ministers weighed on the government's consideration of the future of the aviation industry, with Qantas pushing to be protected from competition from all other airlines.

Federal cabinet had been set to debate the issue of giving Singapore Airlines access to the trans-Pacific route today and there was some support, led by Treasurer Peter Costello, for opening up the route.

But it is now expected only to begin a broad review of aviation policy, with the view spreading that Singapore was not providing sufficient quid pro quo to Australia for the change.

Some sources say the government was also concerned Virgin Blue chairman Chris Corrigan might have publicly attacked a decision favourable to Singapore.

Sources say Virgin Blue has told government ministers that it plans to start offering four services a week to Los Angeles on the Virgin Atlantic model a ritzy business-class service combined with a range of economy and more down-market services at the back of the plane using either Boeing B777 or Airbus A340 aircraft.

It could do this within existing airline policy, but it has told the government it would be looking to offer four services a day on the route, a move that would require further talks under bilateral air agreements with the United States.

The push to consider letting Singapore Airlines onto the trans-Pacific route came at a crucial time for the industry, with the imminent introduction of the massive A380 Airbus planes that allow non-stop travel between Sydney and London and other long-haul destinations.

Singapore Airlines is due to take delivery of the planes before Qantas.

In a government submission, Virgin said the domestic market would remain its main focus.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 11:33 PM   #231
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Pacific not always route to wealth, says Sir Rod
Tansy Harcourt
14 June 2005
Australian Financial Review

Nothing is certain in the airline business, not even the profitability of Qantas's route to the United States, reports Tansy Harcourt.

The outgoing chief executive of British Airways, Rod Eddington, has warned that the Australia-US route was not the eternal "goldmine" for airlines as was often described.

On the eve of a federal cabinet meeting to discuss allowing Singapore access to the route, the newly knighted Sir Rod, also a former Ansett executive, delivered a timely reminder of just how tough the route was even 10 years ago.

The Pacific is Qantas's most lucrative route, accounting for 10 per cent of profit in the first-half. Government regulations mean only airlines domiciled in the US, Australia or New Zealand can service the network and only Qantas and United Airways now offer direct flights from Australia to the mainland US.

Sir Rod would not be drawn on whether the Australian government should relax its regulations to allow Singapore Air to compete, but pointed to the fact that many US carriers had failed to make it work over the past decade and a half.

"Everyone thinks the Pacific is a goldmine [but] route profitability ebbs and flows. This used to be an extremely difficult route. Between about 1990 and 1995 everyone pulled out. It was ferociously competitive," he said.

The numerous US carriers that once flew the route and are now failed or in bankruptcy protection, also had strong balance sheets at that time.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon has defended the amount of money it makes flying Australia-US by asserting it is necessary for Qantas to earn a solid profit on some routes to offset markets that were more difficult.

But the Singaporean government has claimed that keeping the route restricted means passengers are having to pay more for tickets and that the lack of competition is hurting tourism in Australia.

A report commissioned by Singapore Airlines found the lack of competition was costing Australia up to $126 million in lost tourist revenue a year.

How national transport policies affect local businesses is an issue of concern for governments across the globe. Sir Rod has been appointed by the UK government to advise it on the impact of its air, rail and road travel policy, released last year.

Sir Rod, who finishes up at British Airways in September, will take a year to assess the response to the UK government's transport white paper. He is also taking up a position on the board of global miner Rio Tinto.

He already holds a seat on board of News Corp and the Australian unit of Cathay Pacific's part owner, John Swire and said he would not be taking up any more board seats.

And despite moving back from London to the Melbourne suburb of Toorak in January, he said he did not plan to become involved in either of the two locally listed airlines. "Finishing as the chief executive officer of BA is a perfect way to end it."

He said ownership restrictions on airlines and the complex criss-crossing of bilateral deals between countries on landing rights added to the burden on an industry that was already slave to external factors such as oil prices and terrorism.

"The industry struggles from crisis to crisis. It's too fragmented and destroys too much shareholder value."
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Old June 15th, 2005, 11:03 PM   #232
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Australia Virgin Blue To Code-Share With Virgin Atlantic
15 June 2005

MELBOURNE (Dow Jones)--Australian discount carrier Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA.AU) and sister airline Virgin Atlantic said Wednesday they will begin code-sharing next month, allowing travelers to book tickets between the U.K. and Australian destinations.

Virgin Atlantic, which flies daily from London to Sydney via Hong Kong, will be able to offer connecting flights from Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and the Gold Coast, the airlines said in a joint statement.

"It's an exciting step forward as it streamlines the process of booking 'Virgin all the way', making it easier for travel agents to book our guests on both airlines," Virgin Blue Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said in the statement.

The two airlines will begin code-sharing from July 17.

Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic began flying the "kangaroo route" between Australia and the U.K. in December.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 11:06 PM   #233
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Australia's Qantas: Welcomes Canberra Ruling On LA Route
15 June 2005

SYDNEY (Dow Jones)--Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN.AU) said Wednesday that it welcomes a decision by the Australian government to defer a decision on giving Singapore Airlines Ltd. (S55.SG) access to the trans-Pacific route.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said in the statement issued after the close of local trade that "it was ludicrous for Singapore Airlines to suggest that this was one of the most protected air routes". [ 15-06-05 0850GMT ]

Dixon, who led lobbying of Australian ministers and government lawmakers to keep SIA out of the Sydney-Los Angeles run that provides up to 15% of Qantas' annual earnings, said a range of airlines can operate between Australia and the U.S. if they choose.

He cited Qantas, domestic discount rival Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA.AU), Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR.NZ), and United Airlines (UALAQ).

"Many carriers, including Continental, Northwest and American Airlines, have operated on the Pacific, but abandoned it after losing tens of millions of dollars," Dixon said.

He also said Qantas has been in talks with the government "about a range of issues distorting international competition and the need for the industry to restructure".

"It is pleasing to see that the Australian government plans to discuss a wider range of policy issues on an industry basis with Qantas, Virgin Blue and other carriers," Dixon said.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 10:28 AM   #234
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Branson wants more flights to Australia
Tansy Harcourt
16 June 2005
Australian Financial Review

The Kangaroo route is growing and the airline wants more freedom to increase capacity, writes Tansy Harcourt.

Virgin Atlantic has called on the Australian and British governments to relax regulations on flights between the two countries to accommodate higher projected growth on the Kangaroo route.

The two governments meet next week for air services negotiations, as they seek to accommodate changes in the industry since the last agreement in 1997.

The talks follow the Australian government's postponement of a decision on a Singapore Airlines request to fly between Australia and the United States.

"Our interest is to have a much more liberal regime than in the past," Virgin Atlantic head of Asia-Pacific Mackenzie Grant said.

The existing agreement allows for 28 services a week for London-based carriers and the same for Australian carriers.

Qantas operates 27 flights a week and will increase that to 28 when it adds its extra service through Hong Kong. From the UK, British Airways holds the rights for 21 services and Virgin Atlantic has the other seven, which means neither airline can increase their flights.

"We would like the agreement to be liberalised so we can add extra flights when we want to," Mr Grant said.

Airlines such as Emirates are also seeking greater access to and through Australia but its rights come under an agreement between Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

Virgin Atlantic said its bookings had been increasing gradually since starting flights to Australia and its bookings for July in both directions had reached 90 per cent.

Virgin Atlantic started flying between Sydney and London via Hong Kong in December last year and hopes to increase its offering to include services from other Australian cities.

In the meantime, the airline has done a code-share deal with Virgin Blue, giving seamless connections for travellers on both airlines, which are part-owned by Richard Branson.

The code-share deal was dependent on developing new software that allowed Virgin Blue's low-cost booking IT platform, Navitaire Open Skies, to integrate with the traditional reservations system used by Virgin Atlantic.

The new technology would enable Virgin Atlantic travellers from London and Hong Kong to also connect to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, the Gold Coast and Coolangatta on a single code.

The better link between Virgin Atlantic and its domestic sister airline would help boost its prominence in the Australian market, according to Mr Grant.

"It helps to build market awareness . . . It's been more difficult in Australia because we are the fifth Virgin brand."

The airline has also struggled to overcome confusion between its luxurious service offering and that of low-cost airline Virgin Blue.

"We even get people in the travel trade asking us to guarantee their clients won't have to buy their meals on board," Mr Grant said. "But we are getting there."
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Old June 18th, 2005, 06:39 AM   #235
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Emirates Airlines To Lobby For More Australian Access
17 June 2005

CANBERRA (Dow Jones)--Emirates Airlines (EA.YY) officials touch down in Canberra next week to push their case for greater access to Australia's aviation market.

Emirates Airlines Chairman Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and President Tim Clark are scheduled to hold talks with Australian Transport Minister John Anderson on Thursday, a government spokesman said Friday.

However, it appears unlikely Anderson, having just rebuffed Singapore Airlines Ltd.'s (S55.SG) latest bid to enter the Sydney-Los Angeles route, will be inclined to give Dubai-based Emirates the green light to increase its services to Australia.

Australia's aviation sector is dominated by Sydney-based flagship carrier Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN.AU). The other major airline is discount carrier Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA.AU).

Emirates Airlines has come under fire from industry players for contributing to a further erosion of yields and for excess airline seats on flights between Australia and New Zealand since it entered the trans-Tasman market in 2003.

Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR.NZ) chief executive Ralph Norris has for several months described the trans-Tasman routes as a "bloodbath" and complained about overcapacity leading to "unsustainably low" airfares.

The Australian government also has recently voiced concerns about excess capacity that will come with the advent of Airbus' (ABI.YY) A380 super-jumbo aircraft.

Emirates Airlines is the biggest single customer for the A380 to-date, having ordered 45 double-decker passenger jets and two freighter versions.

Also next week, officials from Anderson's department are due to formally begin talks aimed at expanding access to Britain's aviation market.

This follows Anderson's visit to London, Brussels and Copenhagen in February, during which he secured agreement from the European Commission to pursue further aviation liberalization. That agreement means Australia can negotiate directly with the U.K. and other European nations to allow Qantas to fly more frequently to ports such as London and Paris.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 10:55 PM   #236
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Controller at fault in near miss
21 June 2005
The Australian

AN air traffic controller failed to communicate clearly with the pilots of two Qantas and Jetstar planes that nearly collided in mid-air last year.

An official report into the incident found the lateral distance was 1.1km and the vertical 700ft when the passenger jets crossed paths on July 17 near Hamilton Island, in the Whitsundays in north Queensland.

The Jetstar plane, with 124 people aboard, took dramatic evasive action to avoid a collision shortly after takeoff from the island's airport.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau found that while the aerodrome controller at Hamilton Island had a plan to separate the aircraft, the instructions given to the pilots were unclear. "Consequently it was not executed correctly," its report said.

It said both planes were in visual contact with each other and the crew of the Jetstar plane received a collision alert on its system.

Aviator Dick Smith said the near miss was another indictment on airspace changes.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 10:57 PM   #237
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Young hopefuls 'crowded out the older ones'
Johanna Leggatt
21 June 2005
The Courier-Mail

VIRGIN Blue says it did not hire cabin crew over the age of 36 during a two-year recruitment drive because mostly younger women applied.

When a discrimination case by eight former Ansett workers resumed in Brisbane yesterday, the airline's staff again denied an ageist approach to recruitment.

The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal is hearing the case of the eight women who say they were refused jobs with the fledgling airline because of their age.

Following the collapse of Ansett in 2001, the women -- aged between 36 and 56 -- all attended "assessment centres" where they were asked to sing, dance and perform. None of them made it past the first round and they say their extensive airline experience was not taken into consideration.

However, Virgin Blue's Diana Holloway, who helps run recruitment and evaluated applicants, said the company analysed "core competencies" in staff.

Tribunal member Douglas Savage asked Ms Holloway why, if Virgin was assessing according to "core competencies" and not age, there was no one over 36 hired over a two-year recruitment period.

"The demographic applying for the jobs was always a young demographic," Ms Holloway replied.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 07:37 AM   #238
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Australia's Qantas Seeks Extra Japan Flights
20 June 2005

CANBERRA (Dow Jones)--Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN.AU) is seeking permission to increase the number of services its discount international unit Australian Airlines operates between Australia and Japan.

Qantas has applied to the Australian government's International Air Services Commission to add two extra services a week between Cairns and Nagoya from Aug. 3, according to the IASC's website.

Australian Airlines, which currently flies between the two cities seven times a week, plans to use Boeing 767-300 aircraft on the route.

Qantas has also applied for permission to add an extra weekly freight service between Australia and Hong Kong using a Boeing 747 freighter.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 06:39 PM   #239
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Australia's OzJet Set for October Takeoff - CEO
20 June 2005

MELBOURNE (Dow Jones)--Australia's OzJet Airlines, owned by Minardi Formula One team boss Paul Stoddart, expects to be carrying paying passengers by October, Chief Executive Hans van Pelt said Monday.

OzJet formally applied to the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority for an Air Operator's Certificate on Friday, a process that takes at least four months.

"We've had some fairly encouraging early remarks in the evaluation stage from CASA," van Pelt said. "Things are progressing well and we're on our timeline."

OzJet will begin flying between Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra with four planes, and expects to expand its fleet to 10 by July 2006. The new airline will offer all-business class seats.

It has negotiated gates at Australia's two busiest airports, Sydney and Melbourne, and is about to award its catering contract.

Pilots and cabin crew are being interviewed and van Pelt is trying to decide whether to subcontract all or part of the airline's ground services.

OzJet is seeking to capture business travelers who now fly Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN.AU) or Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA.AU).

It is hoping to lure international corporate people through its reservation system, which will be compatible with global booking systems used by travel agents and major airlines.

The new airline can't begin selling tickets until its Air Operator's Certificate is issued. However, van Pelt said the OzJet website is receiving a lot of interest from business travelers, travel agents, corporations and government departments.

To lure corporate travelers to the new airline, van Pelt will use some "neat and unusual" marketing and advertising ploys.

However, he won't be trying to match some of the outlandish stunts performed by Virgin Blue founder Richard Branson.

"I don't think that kind of thing would appeal to our niche corporate business market segment," he said.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 04:47 PM   #240
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Low-cost carrier to fly across Tasman
Peter Morley
23 June 2005
The Courier-Mail

BRISBANE will be one of several Queensland airports that low-cost carrier Jetstar will use to fly to New Zealand by the end of the year.

The Qantas subsidiary plans to extend its wings even further, eyeing off South-East Asian destinations within about five hours' flying time from Australia.

The trans-Tasman expansion was announced yesterday by Jetstar chief executive Alan Joyce, who said destinations would be announced early in August.

Tourism industry sources said flights were likely to depart from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Whitsundays and possibly Townsville.

They predicted one-way introductory fares of $99 as Jetstar fought for a foothold across the Tasman, on a route now served by 13 airlines including Qantas.

But Jetstar will operate to leisure destinations other than those flown by the mother airline.

Mr Joyce said Jetstar's profitability, its 12 per cent market share and delivery of a new fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft meant it could expand.

Unlike domestic services, Jetstar would allocate seats on its trans-Tasman flights.

Speaking in Perth at the Australian Tourism Exchange, where the country's attractions are promoted to international wholesalers, Mr Joyce said booking Jetstar from overseas would be made easier through a freesale codeshare arrangement.

"This is an important distribution initiative that will allow wholesalers selling Australian travel packages and independent foreign travellers to build mixed, seamless passenger itineraries," he said.

Jetstar will be competing on the trans-Tasman run with the Virgin Blue subsidiary Pacific Blue, which is based in New Zealand from where it flies to the east coast and Pacific islands including Fiji and the Cooks.

Virgin Blue public affairs general manager Heather Jeffery said the "more the merrier". But she did not apply the same sentiment to the trans-Pacific route which Singapore Airlines wants to fly but has been told by the Australian Government to keep its plans on hold because a decision about rights will not be taken for some years.

Qantas has been lobbying hard to keep a stranglehold on this service but Ms Jeffery said her company was also interested.

"We have made it known to the Federal Government that we regard the trans-Pacific as a very valuable Australian asset," she told the exchange.

"We are not seeking protection but would be seeking a reasonable time frame to develop a business plan which will be unfolded later this year."

Ms Jeffery said Virgin Blue now had 30 per cent of the domestic market and 35 per cent on some routes. But after five years and expansion in that time from a fleet of two aircraft to 50, it was time to consolidate. She confirmed that Virgin Blue would be out to capture a bigger share of the business market, traditionally the province of Qantas. But Qantas has left services to areas such as the Gold Coast to Jetstar, prompting criticism from businessmen living there.
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