The gloves are off and Virgin is not pulling its punches after Treasurer Joe Hockey signalled the Government’s inclination to lend the ailing national carrier a helping hand yesterday.
The SMH reports this morning that Virgin has gone straight to the heart of competition in Australia and inferred that the ACCC needs to get involved, saying that Qantas is:
…an airline that has multiple times our assets and cash reserves, a superior credit rating and a substantially larger fleet of aircraft…Any form of government assistance to Qantas is a means to enabling them to reinstate their monopoly.
Monopoly is a word the ACCC can hardly ignore and while most people would argue that we have a duopoly in the domestic capital city market, Qantas boss Alan Joyce’s line in the sand at 65% plus government assistance may be a reason for them to have a look at Qantas actions in the domestic market.
Indeed, those of us who remember air travel in Australia before Compass Airlines in the early 1990’s have some sympathy with Virgin’s view.
Qantas of course counters that Virgin is “playing by a different set of rules”.
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