Opposition calls for the Federal Government to show its hand.
Opposition calls for the Federal Government to show its hand. Blainey Woodham

Qantas break-up could hit regional travellers

THE Federal Opposition has warned of a break-up of Qantas that could hit regional air travellers if the Australian airline is sold off.  

Labor's Infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese made the comment on Wednesday as he called on the government to show its cards on the airline's future.  

He said because of Qantas's current financial position, if the company was completely sold off to foreign investors, it would be at risk of a possible share raid and being broken up.  

"If you split up the company, as occurred in places like Canada when Air Canada was moved in on from some of the equity companies, what you saw was a breaking-up and, if you have a look then, you had the government had to step in ensure to ensure the people in regional communities could have some access to aviation," he said.  

While the Qantas Sale Act ensures the airline remains in majority Australia-owned hands, the airline has called for increased government support to maintain its services in Australia.  

Mr Albanese, a former Infrastructure Minister, said the airline was "not just another company", and played a particularly vital role in regional Australia.  

"If it is split up, then the consequences for Qantas Link, for people in regional communities are severe indeed. And that is what you would see."  

"We have said that we would consider constructively any proposal from the government as a result of discussions taking place with Qantas that ensures that Qantas remains a strong, Australian-based airline."  

The Federal Government and Qantas are still in discussions over the airline's future, despite a decision expected last year.  


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