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Qantas Airways shares higher after airline reassures on dividend

Monday 5th May 2003

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Qantas Airways Ltd shares rallied today after reports the airline will maintain dividend payments to shareholders.

Australia's flagship airline Qantas has reportedly assured investors that it does not plan to cut its shareholder dividend.

"We don't have any intention of cutting the dividend," Qantas chief financial officer Peter Gregg said in the Australian Financial Review today.

At 1017 AEST Qantas shares were 10 cents or 3.15 percent higher at $A3.27, in a slightly stronger overall market.

Air New Zealand rose one cent to 47 cents and after airlines stocks in the US soared on Merrill Lynch's bullish investment call on the beleaguered industry.

Shaw Stockbroking research director Scott Marshall said the dividend news had helped the shares, given other mixed news concerning Qantas.

Qantas over the weekend announced that a flight attendant had been placed in isolation at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney with what has been diagnosed as a probable case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

It said the flight attendant, who last worked on Qantas flight 32 from Singapore that arrived in Sydney on April 27, became unwell on Friday.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said the airline believed the attendant was not SARS infectious when she worked on QF32.

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