Qantas To Withdraw Offer For Hazalton


Qantas To Withdraw Offer For Hazalton

SYDNEY, January 22, 2001, Qantas Airways Limited said today that it would not proceed with its offer for Hazelton Airlines Limited following advice that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would not approve the acquisition.

Chief Executive-designate, Geoff Dixon, said the ACCC had told Qantas that the Commission would continue to object to any acquisition of Hazelton by either Qantas or Air New Zealand-owned, Ansett Australia. “We are disappointed by this decision as we strongly believe that we addressed all the concerns previously advised by the ACCC,” he said. “Qantas is firmly committed to competition in the NSW regional aviation market. We have resources to ensure the long-term viability of the Hazelton operation. “Our purchase of Hazelton would have strengthened, not lessened, the access to lower fares and improved services for NSW residents.”

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Mr Dixon said the ACCC’s ruling highlighted the opposing currents now flowing from Australia’s aviation and competition policies. “While recent revision of the aviation policy has given added emphasis to the benefits – such as increased competition and customer choice – flowing from the further liberalisation of Australia’s domestic and international markets, competition policy is being applied in a manner which is inhibiting Australian carriers in their efforts to respond to this increasingly competitive environment,” he said. 

“Aviation is a capital intensive industry where size counts and consumers stand to benefit greatly from the ability of carriers to capture scale economies, as we are seeing in many countries. “The ACCC’s apparent view that a multiplicity of competitors be available in all sectors of the Australian  market, regardless of financial viability, is disturbing particularly in view of the rationalisation and consolidation taking place in the global aviation industry.

“If competition regulators are going to prevent the only major Australian-owned airline from taking part in that process, the industry in this country will be unable to keep pace and realise its full potential in a rapidly globalising world and eventually will be relegated to ‘cottage industry’ status,” Mr Dixon said.

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