Subject: Qantas Becomes 2nd Airline To Fly Into Dili In E Timor

Associated Press May 4, 2000

Qantas Becomes 2nd Airline To Fly Into Dili In E Timor

DILI, East Timor (AP)--Qantas Airways Ltd. (A.QAN) became the second Australian airline to inaugurate services to East Timor Thursday, but competition on the lucrative route linking Dili with Darwin hasn't resulted in better prices for travelers.

A 36-seat De Havilland Dash-8 turboprop belonging to Qantas unit, Airlink, landed at Dili airport at 11:05 a.m. (0405 GMT) with 30 passengers on board. Most were business travelers or Qantas staff.

The airline said it will fly into Dili six times a week.

Security at the city's Comoro airport had to be tightened before Qantas began flights. For the first time passengers were asked to walk through metal detectors and have their luggage X-rayed.

"We needed to meet international security standards before coming in," said spokesman Geoffrey Wharfe.

Both Qantas and its competitor on the route, Air North, charge A$266-A$500 for a return ticket on the 90-minute flight. Neither carrier has any plans to reduce fares.

Air North has been operating commercial flights into Dili from Darwin since February.

Indonesia's Merpati Airlines is the only other commercial airline to land at Dili's Comoro airport, operating two flights a week out of Bali.

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