Australia PM spurns Qantas plea for help as carrier cut to junk status
SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott spurned a plea for help from Qantas Airways Ltd on Friday, saying subsidising the embattled airline would be "a bottomless pit" as its credit rating was relegated to junk status.
The downgrade by Standard & Poor's followed a shock loss warning from the carrier on Thursday that sent its shares plummeting to their biggest one-day loss in almost 18 months.
Moody's also said it may cut its rating on Qantas below investment grade.
Mr Abbott's comments suggested Chief Executive Alan Joyce had cut little ice with calls to government ministers on Thursday seeking urgent action to assist Qantas, claiming its aggressive rival Virgin Australia Holdings has an unfair advantage.