Opposition transport spokesperson Anthony Albanese made some comments about Qantas today. The airline has asked the government for help, after its competitor Virgin Australia moved to raise $350 million with the help of its foreign shareholders.
Options on the table include taking a stake in the airline, guaranteeing its debt or relaxing foreign ownership laws. Albanese seems to have indicated The Opposition would prefer to use taxpayer money to buy Qantas shares.
Changing the Qantas sales act, he thinks, could lead to a restructure of the national carrier. From The Australian’s report:
“I’ve had discussions with Qantas and I’ve suggested that any commitment from the government should be one that isn’t simply a one-way – it should be a two-way exchange.
“A small investment by the government in the airline would ensure that the government got something out of it.
“Because at the moment I think that Qantas shares, given the price they are, probably are pretty good value, frankly, in terms of a small investment.
“So that is something that is worthy of consideration.”
Virgin Australia is majority owned by three overseas airlines which compete with Qantas’ international arm. Its chief executive Alan Joyce says the capital raising allows these airlines to put unfair pressure on its domestic business.
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