Everything that happened in the so called Qantas crisis today would support a suspicion that the airline’s management attempted to touch the public purse for $3 billion to distract attention from a sorry record of inept leadership.
Another reason for Qantas urgently but unsuccessfully seeking $6-7 billion in a government debt guarantee might be found in major shorter term debt repayments and billions of dollars in capital that are variously buried in the accounts or do not appear in the group’s balance sheet.
The Coalition Cabinet meeting on the future of Qantas has resolved to seek the repeal of the key foreign ownership restrictions in section 3 of the Qantas Sale Act and has emphatically refused a Qantas request for a government debt guarantee.
RAAF image of the MRTTs no longer covered by a Qantas Defence deal
Just when the role of Qantas as ‘essential to the security of the country’ is getting a workout by its apologists, the airline has finished its disposal of Qantas Defence Services, the wholly owned subsidiary that provided maintenance for Hercules aircraft, performed essential work on the RAAF A330 MRTTs or Multi Role Tanker transports and maintained the two Prime Ministerial Boeing BBJs.
The Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this morning that he recognised that for Qantas to operate as an international carrier carrying the Australian flag its foreign equity would have to remain capped at 49%.
A reporter since November 30, 1960, Ben Sandilands looks at what really matters up in the sky: public administration of air transport and its safety, the accountability of the carriers, and space for everyone’s knees.