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Airport Comment On Qantas NZ Cessation Of Service

News Release
April 21 2001

Wellington International Airport comment on Qantas NZ cessation of service

Wellington International Airport understands that Tasman Pacific Airlines Ltd (TPA), operators of Qantas New Zealand ceased to provide services from 10PM last night. This is highly regrettable, both in its disruption to the travelling public, the staff of Qantas New Zealand and for TPA’s creditors.

Wellington International Airport Chairman Mr Phil Walker said he understands that TPA have seen fit to attribute this decision to Wellington International Airport’s notification that landing facilities were to be withdrawn from next Monday. This is in fact incorrect.

On 19 April Wellington International Airport was notified that Qantas Airways was breaking off negotiations to acquire TPA and to protect its position Wellington International Airport made demand for payment of the more than $750,000 that was owed at that time. After extensive discussions WIAL notified TPA at 3PM on Friday that it may withdraw services from Qantas New Zealand from 9.00am on Monday 30 April and that it would announce this on 24 April so as to give the public ample warning to minimise inconvenience.

The fact that Qantas New Zealand has chosen to cease operation from 10PM on Friday 20 April can only be attributed to other factors.

Mr Walker also pointed out that WIAL was never going to stop Qantas New Zealand aircraft landing or taking off. The services to be withdrawn were operational systems including aerobridges, public address systems, check-in counters and baggage systems.

Mr Walker said “important questions need to be asked about why the people behind Qantas NZ failed to give it ongoing support, especially given their announcement that they intended to inject further capital, and their apparent ability to do so.”

Mr Walker said WIAL intended giving advance notice of its decision so as to minimize inconvenience to the travelling public and it was as shocked as anyone else by yesterday’s development. Mr Walker said WIAL was owed amounts in excess of $750,000 by TPA and was now waiting on developments to see what the prospects of payment were.

“The ratepayers of Wellington (WCC owns 34 per cent of WIAL) and the shareholders of Infratil (66 per cent owner of WIAL) should not be required to subsidise the operations of this business and its shareholders”, Mr Walker said.

For further information contact:
Phil Walker Or John Sheridan
Chairman, WIAL Chief Executive, WIAL
0061 418 874 819 (04) 385 5100 / (021) 648 264

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