QANTAS, AIR NEW ZEALAND SEEK DEADLINE EXTENSION

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 28) - Air New
Zealand and Qantas, have asked New Zealand's Commerce Commission for more time
to submit proposals for the Australian airline to buy a 22.5 per cent share in
its rival.

The airlines had been given until May 9 to convince New
Zealand's competition watchdog that the deal should go ahead but they have now
asked for more time to make their arguments.

The commerce commission says it will make a decision in the next
couple of days.

Earlier this month the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission and its New Zealand counterpart both refused Qantas' bid to buy a
22.5 per cent stake in New Zealand's national carrier.

Shares in Australian carrier Qantas have fallen because of
concern about the impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

The Australian airline has closed 15 cents down at $2.85.

Earlier this month, Qantas announced it was shedding 1,700 jobs
because of the war in Iraq and the outbreak of SARS.

April 29, 2003

Radio Australia: http://abc.net.au/ra

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