Written by Bazza McKenzie
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Topics: travel, Monopoly

Sunday, 25 September 2005

image for Qantas refutes suggestions of industry monopoly
Dixon tells agents where they can put one of these

Sydney - In a press conference today, Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon denied allegations that the airline is monopolising the Australian travel industry. He told reporters that Qantas have been developing initiatives to work more closely with travel agents and hospitality groups as part of larger corporate strategy.

Speaking down through the window of his new Land Rover Vogue 4WD on route to a taxpayer-funded banquet with Transport officials, Dixon said "Travel agents play an integral role in the success of Qantas. They do more to lure in leads for our sales team than any other rotting carcass industry group hurtling towards extinction. Undercutting agent prices, withdrawing commission, and offering lucrative corporate clients attractive backhanders to move their accounts directly to our in-house service, is what makes us the Australian company for Australians that we are today."

Commenting on suggestions from the hotel industry that Qantas was bullying them into providing exclusive rates or risk having their contracts terminated, Dixon became irate at a request to turn down the volume on his stereo before denying the allegation, "People seem to be under the illusion that airlines want a monopoly on the travel industry. There is plenty of room for everyone. We have no plans to target the backpacker and pensioner markets. There's no reason why a five star hotel chain who don't wish to partner with Qantas can't convert their Australian properties into youth hostels or large bed and breakfasts."

When asked about specific support measures Qantas would be initiating for agents and other supporters, Dixon went on to say, "(there is) an obvious need for clearer communication lines between Qantas and our industry partners. We are setting up a dedicated call centre to enable travel agent and hotel principals to speak with a Qantas representative in Delhi and express any concerns they may have.

Frustrated by delays in removing a photographer wedged between the bull bar and front wheel of his Range Rover, Dixon signaled the end of the conference, activating his boom box and switched to 4WD mode to navigate the human speed bump, incensed by the possibility of missing his first course.

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