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Northwest Airlines Controversial Osaka - Sydney Flight Service withdran

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Tim Fischer mp Federal Member for Farrer

Leader of the National Party of Australia

Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources





In a surprise development late yesterday, the Japanese Government has withdrawn approval for the controversial Northwest Airlines flight from Osaka to Sydney.

Federal Leader of the National Party, Tim Fischer said this today when speaking on his arrival back from Tokyo and a five nation sweep through Asia which included visits to Thailand, Cambodia Laos, Korea and Japan.

"Last year, amidst much controversy, Ministers Beasley and Collins approved an extraordinary arrangement whereby Northwest Airlines was given rights to convey passengers between Japan and Australia as part of their New York - Osaka - Sydney service without Qantas gaining any quid pro quo.

"This raised many eyebrows in official circles both in Canberra and Tokyo and effectively jeopardised an arrangement whereby Qantas was going to be admitted to the lucrative Osaka - Sydney sector in conjunction with Japan Airlines.

"The Japanese Government has been closely monitoring the Northwest Airlines flights between Osaka and Sydney and advised late Friday that it would withdraw approval for the service from 22 January or at the latest, the end of the month, 31 January.

"It is not clear yet what response Northwest Airlines will adopt but the Australian Government must now very carefully review this whole issue and consult fully with Qantas and consider the national interest.

"In the jungle of international airline politics, many

complexities abound but what Canberra did last year was

effectively to kick Qantas in the teeth in the Australia - Japan market and hand on a silver plate considerable revenue to

Northwest Airlines."

Mr Fischer said it is about time that the Federal Government became more adept at dealing with these matters and, in any event, it is high time the Federal Government adopted the

Coalition's 'Fightback' package forthwith and gave Qantas full domestic aviation rights to ensure more effective competition.

ENDS 19 January 1991

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