View Full Version : Qantas takes a stick to Hockey

3rd Dec 2003, 22:57
Thurs "The Australian"

Qantas takes a stick to Hockey
By Steve Creedy
December 04, 2003

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon has savaged Tourism Minister Joe Hockey for supporting foreign airlines wanting to move in on the lucrative route between Australia and the US.

Mr Hockey said on Tuesday there was a compelling case for additional airline activity between Australia and the US.

Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have both asked to fly the route but Transport Minister John Anderson has deferred a decision.

But Mr Hockey said a shortage of seats on the route was preventing people visiting Australia from the US and he would like to see another carrier on the route.

The comments brought a stinging rebuke from Mr Dixon, who said the minister had "chosen to ignore the facts".

Mr Hockey was also ignoring aviation bilateral agreements that made it more difficult for Qantas to get access to international markets than it was for overseas airlines to come into Australia, Mr Dixon said.

"Mr Hockey continually supports international airlines against Qantas," he said. "We can live with his negativity about Qantas. However, we would ask that he gets his facts right occasionally."

Mr Hockey has a record of making controversial comments that upset the travel industry and was recently labelled a "galoot" by Sydney Airport chief executive Max Moore-Wilton.

Mr Dixon said Mr Hockey was "plain wrong" to suggest a shortage of seats was affecting the number of people coming to Australia or that there was a compelling case for more airline activity on the Australia-US route.

He said Qantas' market share on the US route was 55 per cent, not 85 per cent as suggested in a newspaper report, and it still had 70,000 seats available to the USA over the next three months alone. These included tens of thousands of seats available at discounted fares.

The airline had invested billions of dollars on the route, including the purchase of six Boeing 747-400 ER aircraft to provide non-stop services, and had done more to promote Australia-US travel than any organisation in either country.

"Qantas restored capacity extremely quickly following SARS and has increased services between Australia and Los Angeles from 25 per week ... to 34 week this month, an increase of 35 per cent in a few months," Mr Dixon said.

Mr Hockey said last night: "My department is meeting with Qantas on Monday. We look forward to them opening their books on the Pacific route to justify their assertions."


4th Dec 2003, 03:32
This was the same oversized pratt that suggested that the Sydney basin region should be able to have its population increased from around 4 million to over 8 million in the next 20 years!

No environmental impact studies or plans for renewed infrastructure...........let alone the major question of where will the water come from?

Says it all really.

4th Dec 2003, 04:13
Hockey as Minister for Finance also sent Direction 20 to the ACCC during the airport sale process directing the ACCC to disregard the airlines arguments on airport valuation. The result of his action increased the sale value ultimately driving the level of airport charges. This finished up at odds with his new portfolio of tourism. A real short sighted action. Direction 20 can be viewed on the ACCC site.

The Enema Bandit
5th Dec 2003, 11:19
I wonder if Toomey is his bastard brother.

5th Dec 2003, 12:02
Enema.... you are half right :ok: