Australia keeps SIA waiting

CANBERRA - The Australian Government has delayed an announcement on whether it will allow Singapore Airlines to fly to the US from Australia but it appears that Prime Minister John Howard is ready to back Qantas and keep SIA at bay. Howard’s latest comments on the issue echo many of Qantas’s arguments for seeking protection on the Pacific route. The PM said Qantas had mounted strong arguments to retain the existing arrangements, and referred to arguments that Singapore Airlines is advantaged by its government ownership. Meanwhile, the launch of Jetstar International by Qantas is good news for many of Asia’s leading leisure destinations. The carrier has not yet announced the routes it will fly but there are indications that Phuket, Bali, the Philippines and Vietnam will be among the first targets. The low-cost carrier will begin operations in early 2007.

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