Thursday, August 10, 2006

Truss - Beware the bolt of lightning

Transport Minister Warren Truss has outdone himself today in declaring in the Age newspaper

"If (the US Government) are interested in a genuinely open-skies agreement with Australia, then we certainly are,"

As you know one of my top tirades is the effective monopoly of Qantas on the Pacific route. If you are doing a multi-city in one week tour of America for work and need to be home in time for the weekend to function as a parent then Qantas is the only option - and they price themselves accordingly.

Truss told us earlier this year - somehow with a straight face - that there was simply no economic justification for allowing Singapore to flight the route. Clearly a stupid argument. If it were true it would be the first time in history that more flights, more cheaply meant no increase in travel and tourism. Now he has quickly dumped that argument and business model (presumably prepared on the back of a napkin the Qantas Chairman's Lounge in Sydney) and is blaming it on the Americans.

Now I blame the Americans for a lot - Iraq, Rush Limbaugh, this sort of religious wackery, all the Bushes, axing the West Wing and that smirk that John Howard gets when he returns from a trip to the US - but here the blame is squarely with Truss and him falling completely for the Qantas line on the Pacific Route. His stated commitments in the Age to competition on this route and more than just hollow they are an out-and-out lie.

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