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New Oz Airline?

Old 17th Dec 2001, 18:01
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Post New Oz Airline?

Australian Airlines, the Qantas subsidiary, will return to flight service next September with single-class leisure service in Boeing 767-300s, using Cairns as an operational base.

The new Australian will operate independently under separate management but the carrier is regarded as Qantas' response to the growing presence of Richard Branson's Virgin Blue in Australia. Qantas' board of directors approved the startup last week on condition that Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon review and accept the proposed cost structure.

Denis Adams, the CEO of Australian, said he was confident of gaining Dixon's approval early next year.

Adams said Australian will begin flying with four Boeing 767-300s and will build toward a fleet of 12 767s. From Cairns it will serve initially Osaka, Nagoya, Singapore, Taipei , Hong Kong and Fukuoka. Qantas will provide connecting services for Australian to all Australian capital cities.

Under the current plan, Australian will offer connecting flights between Cairns and the Gold Coast six times a week and eventually serve each of the provincial capitals in Australia.

Australian will not operate on routes served by Qantas. "Our job will be to create profitable flying on routes Qantas has withdrawn from or on routes from where Qantas has been unable to extract a satisfactory return," Adams said. It will be part of the Qantas frequent flier club.

The carrier's headquarters will be in Sydney. A second operational base will be established in a southern capital city. A "flying" kangaroo has been adopted as the carrier's corporate identity.

Australian, formerly Trans Australia, a major domestic operator for decades, was acquired by Qantas in the early 1990s. Its former head, James Strong, served as Qantas chairman.
[ 17 December 2001: Message edited by: Squawk7777 ]
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