Ralph What Is This Thing You Have About Qantas?

Published: Wed 1 Oct 2003 12:13 AM
Note: Scoop's Editors are supporters of the Save Air New Zealand campaign...
Ralph What Is This Thing You Have About Qantas?
Update #6 Of The Save Air New Zealand Campaign
If you want to address a crowd, get a box to stand on. If you run an airline stand on a box in an aircraft 20 kilometres up. Air New Zealand CEO Ralph Norris took the opportunity while showing the PM her (82% Government owned) new Airbus.
It may be a new aircraft, but Ralph’s mantra about Qantas is the same old guff.
Norris:. “Looking at the long haul business, and that’s where we saw the advantages of an alliance with Qantas, that’s going to be an issue for us going forward being a relatively small airline having to put together the ability to replace aircraft which are very expensive in a business that doesn’t cover its cost of capital.”
If this is so, why did Air New Zealand’s case to the Commerce Commission skirt around how the alliance will benefit long haul and instead focussed on Air New Zealand needing to increase profits from NZ to provide subsidies to long haul? Costs and patronage of Air New Zealand’s international services would be largely unaffected by the Qantas alliance.
The reason there is one message to public and another to the regulator is that at its core Air New Zealand’s case for the alliance is a complete fiction. The alliance is about carving up the NZ and Tasman markets. The sweet coating for this pill is a vague offer to reinvest profits in long haul services.
Ralph’s other announcement from his 20,000.5 metre high soap box was that only Qantas would do. Others don’t even warrant a phone call. Who knows if Air New Zealand really needs a partner, but in saying “only Qantas” Ralph means “only Qantas enables us to benefit from reduced competition. No other prospective partner would deliver a domestic monopoly and near control of the Tasman”. What makes Qantas Air New Zealand’s only date should make anyone else with an interest in a viable New Zealand air travel industry opposed to that union.
Norris: there is no other partnership that provides the benefits that Qantas does. We have talked to other airlines and they have come up very well short of providing anything that would provide a realistic option for the future.
Reporter: have you talked to other airlines since you came up with the alliance proposal with Qantas?
Norris: we spoke to people before we did that. We evaluated other airlines and other opportunities.
Reporter: so you don’t see the situation changing? … Air New Zealand isn’t any more attractive?
Norris: well they weren’t right then and they’re not right now.
** ENDS **

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