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Shares P / Planestation Group plc
Subject:  Melbourne Date:  19/10/2004  13:27
Author:  1DAYMAYBE Number:  1436 of 3334


PlaneStation Group PLC — the British company that wants to fly passengers direct between Melbourne International Airport and Europe — will christen its new U.S. headquarters at the airport today.

PlaneStation Senior Vice President Tony Freudmann offered few details on direct flights from Melbourne to the United Kingdom, but said there was “work in progress,” and he would have more news soon.

“We have been working quite diligently at setting up shop in the U.S.,” Freudmann said. “And while I can’t tell you everything, I will say we will have some great news soon.”

Negotiations between the airport and the U.K.-based company have been going on for more than a year regarding the European flights. PlaneStation owns five European-built Fokker F-100 planes it acquired when it bought European no-frills airline EU Jet in late September.

“These are not the flights that will be coming to Melbourne,” Freudmann said. “Those will be jetting around Europe. But we are working on various negotiations to get the international flights up and running.”

Freudmann made a presentation at the Gray Robinson Community Leaders Forum, where he told attendees that his company was committed to running international flights to and from Europe out of the Melbourne airport.

“I wanted to reassure everyone that we were committed to the Melbourne project,” he said. “We have major investment firms which have invested in us . . . and we are now about 50 percent owned by major institutions.”

“We need to have a presence here,” Freudmann said. “We need to be working with the community. Part of our strategy is to enable Floridians to fly to Europe. We need someone to maintain outgoing tourism.”

Freudmann said PlaneStation has been around — “in one form or another” — since 1919.

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