Qantas says the federal government’s decision to increase foreign ownership caps on the airline are an “improvement”.
Qantas has welcomed a decision to raise foreign investments caps on the airline, but says it still wants to see the restrictions removed completely.
The federal government plans to lift restrictions under the Qantas Sale Act that prevent a foreign investor from owning more than 25 per cent of the company and cap combined ownership by foreign airlines at 35 per cent.
But it has given up on plans to allow unlimited foreign investment in the airline, agreeing to the opposition’s 49 per cent cap.
Qantas said the decision was “an improvement”, but would like the government to go further and abolish foreign ownership restrictions.
“It’s positive that there’s general agreement that Qantas is disadvantaged by the Sale Act and that change is needed,” the airline said in a statement on Wednesday.
“While removing all restrictions that apply only to Qantas remains our preference for levelling the playing field, changing the 25 and 35 per cent limits would represent an improvement on the status quo.”
Qantas has argued the restrictions on foreign ownership make it harder to compete with rival Virgin Australia, which is majority owned by three foreign airlines: Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines.
The two airlines have been locked in a bruising battle for market share in Australia that saw Qantas post a record $252 million underlying loss.