Qantas Sale Act Reform a Good Step Forward

Canberra, 16 December 2009

Qantas today welcomed the Federal Government's confirmation that it would remove foreign investment restrictions under the Qantas Sale Act.

The changes, outlined in the Government's National Aviation Policy Statement (White Paper), will remove restrictions on the amount of interest in Qantas held by foreign airline shareholders (currently 35 per cent of share capital) and foreign individual shareholders (currently 25 per cent of share capital). The 49 per cent restriction on total foreign shareholders will remain.

Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alan Joyce, said the reform was an important step forward.

"The change announced today gives Qantas parity with Australian carriers governed by the Air Navigation Act when it comes to attracting capital," Mr Joyce said.

"It will help Qantas continue to deliver benefits to its customers and employees and to Australian trade, tourism and business.

"Airlines need policy certainty and financial freedom of movement in order to implement long-term growth plans. Qantas has ambitious goals for fleet, product and infrastructure renewal - and access to capital will be vital to achieving those objectives.

"The global financial crisis and economic downturn was a sharp reminder of the volatility of the aviation operating environment, so Qantas is pleased that the White Paper puts a strong focus on providing certainty and generating opportunities for the industry in Australia.

"Qantas is and will remain an Australian airline. The overall 49 per cent foreign ownership limit and requirements relating to Qantas' management, operational base and Board composition are still in place.

"Qantas' management will always remain Australian.

"Just as importantly, Qantas is uncompromisingly committed to world-leading standards in safety, fleet and product, customer service and operational efficiency.

"We will continue to work to these principles in the interests of Australian workers, travellers and business and those of the broader Australian economy."

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3994a)