Australian PM to consider lifting foreign ownership restrictions on struggling Qantas
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday said there will be no taxpayer handouts for struggling national carrier Qantas, but flagged support for lifting foreign ownership restrictions on the airline.
Qantas has been lobbying the government to ease limits in foreign investment or provide state intervention to help shore up its bottom line as it battles record fuel costs and fierce competition from subsidised rivals.
Chief executive Alan Joyce has been in Canberra this week to push for a relaxation of the Qantas Sale Act, which limits foreign ownership to 49 per cent, or a possible debt guarantee.
Joyce argues that the cap is hurting Qantas's ability to compete by restricting its access to capital, particularly against domestic rival Virgin Australia, which is majority-owned by state-backed Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Etihad.