>>>Ansett to challenge Qantas-Impulse merger <<<
Ansett has announced a challenge to the Qantas merger with Impulse Airlines.
The airline's chief, Gary Toomey, has accused Qantas of seeking to drive Ansett to the wall.
Australia's torrid airline war has claimed its first victim. Phillip Lasker reports.
Australia's competition watchdog says it may yet block Qantas' acquisition of Impulse Airlines. Michael Maher reports.
Ansett today launched the first stage of its comeback plan in the wake of the Easter grounding of its fleet of 767s.
The $30 million campaign is called, 'Absolutely', and also signifies a tougher approach in the market place.
Mr Toomey says the Qantas-Impulse deal will be challenged with the courts and regulators.
Meanwhile, the Federal Opposition leader, Kim Beazley, says the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) should approve the proposed merger of Impulse and Qantas airlines, as long as jobs and regional services are protected.
Mr Beazley says the problems faced by Impulse demonstrate the difficulties of sustaining four major airlines in Australia.
He says ACCC chairman, Allan Fels, should give careful consideration to the undertakings Qantas and Impulse are making on jobs and regional routes.
"We're entering into a period where jobs are difficult and saving jobs is absolutely critical," he said.
"I would hope that Allan Fels, as he looks at all these arrangements, and I don't know the intricacies of them, bears in mind jobs and services."
Shares in Qantas Airways have come back down to earth after surging yesterday on the announcement of the Impulse takeover deal.
After soaring 71 cents or 26 per cent yesterday, Qantas shares have fallen back 22 cents, or 6.5 per cent, this morning to $3.18.
Ansett's owner, Air New Zealand, is down four cents to $1.26.
Impulse Airline's public affairs manager Simon Westaway says the airline is confident the Qantas joint venture will be approved by the ACCC.
"We're putting forward a whole bunch of information that shows that it's in the right interest of this company," he said.
"It's in the right interest to ensure 1,000 direct and indirect personnel retain their jobs, it's in the right interest to ensure this company Impulse Arilines grows its aircraft fleet [and] supplies those aircraft to Qantas.
"I think that it's an important development for this company. It basically underpins and gives us a future and that's important."