Air Transport World

Deregulation? Ansett is all set. (Ansett Airlines of Australia) (company profile)

Melbourne-The industry line on last year's pilots'mass resignation is that it may give Ansett the edge it needed to become the dominant carrier in Australia. The reasoning is simple: Prior to the walkout, Australian was beating Ansett in the battle for the business traveler, a market that Ansett had come to consider its private domain. But-the theory goes-the momentum that Australian had built up was dissipated in rebuilding the airline after the walkout and now that Ansett has a business-class product of its own, the gap between the airlines has closed. The resources of Ansett's owners, TNT and The News Corp. are-for practical purposes inexhaustible. On the other hand, Australian must contend with the very finite resources of the Australian government. Therefore, if both airlines have to return to the starting line, Ansett, by dint of its deeper pockets, will win the race.

That's the line, anyway, and it is good news for Ansett if it is true-although the airline is not conceding that Australian was ahead before the work stoppage. But there is no question that Ansett regards the state-owned carrier as a bigger threat than any of the airlines now forming. Australian is flying today and it will be flying on Nov. 1. Capitol, Compass and Southern Cross are still on the drawing board, notes Ansett General Manager Graeme McMahon.

"I personally am not yet persuaded that any one [of the new entrants] will get started by November. …

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