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Ansett To Fully Acquire Hazelton

Melbourne, 21 March/MediaNet International-AsiaNet/--Ansett Australia today announced it had achieved a greater than 90% shareholding in Hazelton Airlines, enabling the airline to exercise compulsary acquisition of all remaining shares.

Payments to shareholders who have previously accepted Ansetts $1.60 per share offer will be made this week. Payment to remaining shareholders will be made in the course of the compulsory acquisition process, within six weeks.

Ansett Air New Zealand Group CEO, Mr Gary Toomey said: We are delighted that we can move to full ownership of Hazelton. Ansett has more than a seven year history as an established Hazelton partner. We are committed to the integrity of regional air services in NSW and to a strengthened Hazelton Airlines.

The acquisition of Hazelton is an important part of the Ansett-Air New Zealand Group's growth strategy to build strong regional networks in both Australia and New Zealand. Regional networks provide seamless connections into Ansett and Air New Zealand's domestic main trunk routes and international services, and also allow us to feed important inbound tourist traffic to and through Australia and New Zealand, Mr Toomey said.

The Ansett Air New Zealand Group has the world's most extensive network to, from and within Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Island countries.

Hazelton Airlines has the largest regional network in NSW. In 2000 it carried over 430,000 passengers, generating a total revenue of more than AU$69 million.
The carrier operates in excess of 450 sectors per week, services 19 ports (16 in NSW, two in Queensland and one in Victoria) and employs 280 staff.

The fleet comprises nine SAAB 340s (32-34 seats) and two Metroliners (19 seats).
In New Zealand, the Group's wholly owned subsidiary Eagle Air has recently ordered 16 Beech 1900D turboprop aircraft (19 seats) to operate on New Zealand regional routes. The first aircraft will arrive in June.

Ends

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