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Tuesday, 11 February 1986
Page: 96

(Question No. 524)

Senator Watson asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 10 September 1985:

(1) Does Qantas intend to follow the example of international competitors and block off two of the emergency exits on their Boeing 747 aircraft by adding 12 seats.

(2) Has the Department of Aviation assured that those Boeing 747 modified in this way by Cathay Pacific and British Airways and which are flying into Australia maintain the same level of safety for their passengers as the unmodified aircraft.

Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) I am advised that Qantas had considered the option but decided to retain the extra emergency exits.

(2) The Department of Aviation accepts that those modified Boeing 747 aircraft operated into Australia by airlines of other Contracting States to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) meet the internationally accepted safety requirements. Unmodified aircraft carrying the same number of passengers as the modified aircraft would have increased safety margins.