Australia Must Keep its National Airline: Clive Palmer

Media release

The federal leader of the Palmer United Party and Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, says it is imperative the national airline Qantas remains Australian-owned.

Mr Palmer said he was certain Palmer United Party senators and the Motorists would oppose any changes to the Qantas Act in the Senate which could lead to its control by a foreign entity.

He has also criticised the Qantas CEO and Board for persisting with a highly unprofitable business model which has run down capitalization of the airline

“Australia suffers from the tyranny of distance. Transport links drive this nation and the kangaroo is our symbol known the world over,’’ Mr Palmer said.

“Qantas is part of the fabric of our Australian identity like meat pies and until very recently Holden cars, before our government let them go to the wall as well.’’

Mr Palmer said the first of the 5000 people to lose their jobs at Qantas should be the CEO quickly followed by the company chairman.

“In life and in business people are judged on their performance. In the case of the Qantas CEO there is no performance, just failure after failure.

“A CEO who has consistently lost a billion dollars to the value of their business each year should not last six months in office, let alone six years,’’ Mr Palmer said.

Mr Palmer said Qantas needed to focus on making a profit rather than offering unstainable fares such as $69 from Brisbane to Sydney or $499 from Australia to Japan.

“Ridiculous, non-sustainable fares only runs down the capitalisation of the airline. I remember when capitalization was approaching $10 billion for Qantas but today it’s only just over $2 billion,’’ he said.

“The CEO and the Board of Qantas have destroyed the company’s value. Why is it that Air New Zealand has been able to thrive and be profitable during the same period while Qantas has continued to nose dive?

“Maybe Qantas should recruit its next CEO from Bondi or Auckland.’’

Mr Palmer said the Palmer United Party is committed to keeping the national airline in Australian hands.

“There are large amounts of capital available for investment each year from Australian superannuation funds that could go towards supporting Qantas,” Mr Palmer said.

“But first the airline needs new management and a sustainable business plan that is not focused on running the company down just to get the government to bail it out or change the Qantas Act.

“I am sure Palmer United Party senators and the Motorists will vote against any changes to the Qantas Act in the Senate. Such a proposal will not get off the ground as it strikes against the very interests of the Australian people

“Governments all over the world ensure their national carrier is owned within their own country, so should the Australian Parliament.”