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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 1000

Senator BISHOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation: What is the current position relating to the announcement by Qantas Airways Ltd of services between Australia and London for a fare of $420 and for an excursion fare of $700? Have any aviation authorities in Britain, France or Germany yet determined their attitudes towards the Qantas proposal? Tn the event that these authorities reject or frustrate the proposed fares, what prospects are there for an early commencement of such services?

Senator COTTON - I have. 3 pieces of information bearing upon the question asked by the honourable senator. The reactions of other airlines have been varied. Some governments have indicated that the matter is still under consideration while 2 governments have suggested that the new fare be discontinued at least until it can be discussed unilaterally. I understand that the position is that the governments concerned have not finalised their attitudes towards the new fare pending consideration of the matter at a meeting of the European Directors-General which is currently taking place and which was in session yesterday. I think the general position is one of which the honourable senator is well aware. It is an attempt to provide a cheaper form of travel for many Australians to the United Kingdom, Europe and return and, equally, to build up the market situation of Qantas Airways Ltd which is being heavily diverted through Singapore. I think that the booking conditions are well known to the honourable senator. Most airlines are marketing the new fare and the airlines which have a substantial interest in flying to and from Australia are most concerned to maintain that situation. Other airlines which, primarily, have a European interest are less enthusiastic. We are watching the position very carefully. More information will come forward. I will be happy to have the honourable, senator ask me questions about this matter or I shall talk to him about it as the information comes in. It is coming in every 4 days.

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