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Tuesday, 6 April 1971

Senator COTTON - Such an arrangement already exists. Qantas Airways Ltd has been in the forefront of international airlines which have been trying to introduce concessional fares for charter flights and group travel. In this regard Qantas has been most active. The current situation is that the scheduled airlines, of which Qantas is one, flying into and out of Australia are permitted to operate and do operate charter concessions and group flying concessions. I have often said that Qantas enjoys about 46 per cent only of the Australian international flying traffic. The charter flying concession is one which gives in a full aircraft a fare structure of 55 per cent of the economy class fare. A recent concession allows a group of 40 people to travel on a normal aircraft at about 56 per cent of the scheduled economy class fare.

The calculation of Qantas and the other operators involved in this business is that this enables them to offer bona fide travellers a substantial discount and to compete favourably with operators who are not scheduled and who are not therefore licensed in the same sense as the scheduled operators. It appears to us that within the market place in the area of operators who are, for very good reasons, licensed - for reasons which the honourable senator canvassed - there is ample opportunity for fares to be made more attractive to those people who can travel in groups or in full aircraft loads. It is important to understand that the scheduled operators, including Qantas, do this, that they have worked to do it, that they are seeking to encourage it and that, within their own system, there has been a huge growth in flying at concessional fares. The Minister in Charge of Tourist Activities, Senator Wright, and I are doing ali we can to ensure that publicity is given to the ability of the scheduled operators to provide these discounted fares.

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