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Wednesday, March 31, 1999 Published at 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Y2K bug 'could stop flights'

Qantas is concerned some airports might not have beaten the bug

The Australian airline Qantas has warned that the millennium bug could lead to its services being disrupted over the New Year period.

"Qantas will only fly if it is safe to do so," the airline said in its latest Y2K report to the Australian Stock Exchange.

"Therefore, some contingency plans may involve reduced frequency of flights on some domestic and international routes during the contingency period," Qantas said.

Services in particular areas might be reduced over the 24-hour period beginning at midnight on 31 December 1999, a Qantas spokesman said.

No problems with planes

The airline said the manufacturers of its aircraft had given their assurances that there were no bug-related problems with the fleet.

But uncertainty remained over certain "critical service providers" - airports, airspace authorities, codeshare partners, computer booking systems, aircraft manufacturers and fuel suppliers.

"Qantas is satisfied that its business is unlikely to be significantly disrupted through the Year 2000 by a failure of a critical service provider," the company spokesman said.

"The exceptions are those services provided by certain airports and air space management authorities."

The spokesman said it was too early to name which airports and authorities were in question, but they included facilities both in Australia and abroad.

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