Qantas Flies Against The Trend

Compiled By Edwin Whenmouth As most airlines around the world reel from the downturn in air travel since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd. has announced plans to spend $1.5 billion Australian (US$760 million) on expanding its domestic services. Qantas says it will purchase 17 new airliners to service routes around Australia, where the almost complete collapse of its main rival -- Ansett Australia Ltd. -- last month has left it in an overwhelmingly dominant position. Qantas plans to buy 15 new generation, long-range, narrow-body aircraft and two Dash 8 aircraft. A decision on whether to order the long-range craft from Boeing Co. or from Airbus Industrie will be taken next week. Meanwhile, the company is releasing a million extra discount tickets for domestic travel before Christmas. Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon says he does not want to squeeze all competitors out of domestic air travel in Australia, but he is hoping to seize 65% to 70% of the market.

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