QANTAS Airways (Sydney) may get a break on the restrictive ownership rules and allow for more foreign ownership. The Australian government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott has agreed to relax ownership rules for the state airline after it posted a large first half loss. Currently the airline is restricted to 35 percent for any foreign airline or 25 percent for any single foreign private investor.
However any reforms would need the approval of the Senate which is concerned about the possibility of any loss of jobs overseas due to increased foreign ownership. In return, the government is also ruling out guaranteeing a loan for the struggling flag carrier.
Read the full report from the Associated Press via ABC: CLICK HERE
QANTAS has issued this statement in response to several issues involving the carrier in the Australian media:
ISSUE: Potential removal of elements of the Qantas Sale Act rather than removing fundamental element that limits foreign ownership to 49 per cent.
FACTS: The government has recognized that the Qantas Sale Act puts us at a disadvantage.
The field is either levelled or it’s not; tilting it a bit won’t fix the fundamental problem, especially given Virgin has a two year head start on attracting foreign investors.
ISSUE: Claims that Qantas did not meet its obligations to consult with the Australian Services Union (ASU) on redundancies at Sydney International Airport.
FACTS: Qantas intends to run a voluntary redundancy program for full-time employees at Sydney International Airport to better align staffing levels with flight scheduling.
There will be changes to the mix of customer service staff to better suit the peak periods at the airport. This will result in an increase in part-time staff and a reduction in full-time staff. This was announced on 27 February.
Qantas met its obligation to consult and is meeting again with the ASU on our intention to offer voluntary redundancies to employees at Sydney International Terminal.
ISSUE: Claims by Senator Nick Xenophon that Qantas should open its books to prove it is not cross-subsidising Jetstar
FACTS: These claims have been made a number of times over the past few years and Qantas has categorically denied them each time.
Qantas has obligations as an ASX listed company, which require us to publish accurate financial data.
Qantas has previously offered the unions an opportunity to have our financial accounts audited independently on the condition that they would cease making baseless claims about cross subsidisation when it was shown it wasn’t occurring. They didn’t take Qantas up on this offer.
ISSUE: Claims that the carbon tax is a key issue facing Qantas
FACTS: The major issues faces Qantas are not related to carbon pricing.
We have been clear that levelling the playing field is the most important policy measure that needs to be fixed, and with some urgency.
ISSUE: Claims that Qantas’ partnership with Modern Family may have cost us up to $4 million.
FACTS: For commercial reasons we don’t disclose the cost of partnerships such as Modern Family, but the $4 million figure is grossly inflated and simply wrong. There are several partners involved in this deal and a large part of Qantas’ contribution has been providing flights.
We’re very comfortable with the investment we’ve made and the return we’re getting. This is not exactly new territory for us and we know that exposure through things like Ellen and Modern Family equals more visitors flying Qantas to Australia.
There are things we will need to cut back on as a business, but investing in Australian tourism and encouraging more people to fly here is key to running an airline.
The Queensland Government (through Tourism Queensland and Screen Queensland) has been closely involved in the Modern Family promotion.
Last year, Qantas helped to bring the Ellen DeGeneres Show to Australia in a move that saw a 22 per cent increase in inbound flights to New South Wales alone, as well as an overall boost in destination awareness for Australia.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-438 ER VH-OEH (msn 32912) prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport.