In response to foreign ownership comments made by Alan Joyce this week, Virgin Australia is reportedly considering legal action against the Qantas chief, says Matt O'Sullivan of the Sydney Morning Herald.
With the foreign capital investments of Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways set to increase to a combined ownership percentage of 69.8%, Australian Business Traveller reported yesterday that this would result in a foreign ownership level of nearly 80% – owing to the remaining 10% stake currently held by the UK’s Virgin Group.
Considering the move to be a virtual takeover, Qantas has hit back through social media channels — dubbed as an “orchestrated media campaign” by Virgin Australia Chairman Neil Chatfield — centring around an online petition currently nearing 13,000 signatures.
Promoted through the hashtag #fairgo4qantas, the airline is hoping to petition the federal government in an attempt to prevent an increase to Virgin’s current levels of foreign ownership.
“It means Virgin, which will be 80% foreign owned, can use its unlimited funds to weaken Qantas in the domestic market and cripple our international business. It means foreign airlines having control of an airline which accesses Australia's valuable air treaty rights”, proffers the airline's petition site.
Speaking at the Virgin Australia AGM earlier today, Chatfield made his thoughts known on Qantas’ viewpoint, remarking that even if the airline considers Board representation for their three biggest shareholders, he will keep the board balanced with a number of independent directors and will continue to abide by the strict corporate governance protocols – with shareholders' best interests in mind.
In addition to comments made publicly, Joyce has also written to the airline’s workforce of 30,000 – asking them to contact their local MPs, and is visiting Canberra today to lobby both sides of government.
Further to yesterday’s article, will you be signing the new petition, or do you feel that the current investment rules and restrictions are already reasonable?
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