Ansett says no room for four airlines

Ansett boss Gary Toomey has joined other aviation industry watchers in predicting that at least one of the four domestic airlines will not survive the current airfare war that has slashed prices on major Australian routes.

Mr Toomey told Channel 10 the industry cannot sustain four carriers but that his airline, beset by fleet maintenance groundings over Easter, would survive any rationalisation. It has been speculated that one of the two new players, Impulse Airlines or Virgin Blue, would not be able to survive into 2002 under the pressure of competition.

However, the smallest airline and the one some see as the most vulnerable, Impulse, has just announced it's secured a $50 million capital injection to help it stake out a permanent place in the domestic market, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Impulse also says it will delay the delivery of two new Boeing 717 jets by two months in a more cautious approach to expansion. Impulse recently downgraded its profit forecasts to zero for this financial year.