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June 3, 1993. 16/93.

MINISTER REAFFIRMS NORTHWEST DECISION

The Minister for Transport and Communications, Senator Bob Collins, today reaffirmed Australia's intention to have Northwest Airlines comply with its agreement on passenger loadings on the New York-Osaka-Sydney route.

The Minister dismissed claims by the airline the agreement had been obtained under duress.

"This claim flies in the face of the position adopted by the airline when it agreed to the conditions imposed on the route by Australia," Senator Collins said.

"Northwest's correspondence clearly shows it was happy to accept, and comply, with those conditions."

Senator Collins also rejected claims from the airline it was now complying with the conditions on passenger loadings.

"The figures show that since Northwest began its three weekly flights in October 1991 up until April 1993, Osaka-Sydney passengers have averaged 75.6 per cent of those on board, "Senator Collins said.

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"This is in direct violation of Northwest's agreement with

Australia to carry no more than 50 per cent Japanese origin traffic on these services.

"Since February this year Northwest has averaged 72 per cent Osaka-Sydney passengers on this route."

Senator Collins said the whole point of the agreement between Australia and Northwest was to develop the market between the U.S. and Australia.

"The Australia-US Air Transport Agreement clearly states that air services shall retain as their primary objective the carriage of traffic between the United States and Australia," Senator Collins said.

"The statistics show clearly this has not happened," he added.

"The Federal Government's action has been taken to ensure Northwest complies with Australian law in the same way we do in terms of the agreements we sign with other countries."

Senator Collins said Northwest had been offered the ability to re-apply for two services per week on the New York-Osaka-Sydney route under the 50 per cent condition which currently applies to Northwest's services.

He urged Northwest Airlines to accept the offer.

Media Contact: Brian Johnstone 06-2777200