Federal Labor has flagged its willingness to consider increased foreign ownership of Qantas, provided the airline remains majority Australian-owned.
As the ailing airline prepares to announce a big half-year loss and thousands of job cuts, the opposition had indicated it may back amendments to the Qantas Sale Act.
As it stands, any single foreign investor is limited to a 25 per cent stake in Qantas while foreign airlines can own no more than 35 per cent of shares in total.
Total foreign ownership ship is capped at 49 per cent.
Senior Labor frontbencher Tony Burke says Labor is prepared to consider raising the 25 and 35 per cent limits.
“We’ll be constructive, we’ll have a look at it,” he told Sky News on Thursday.
But Mr Burke insisted Labor would oppose any move to reduce the total cap on foreign ownership.
“We want Qantas to be an Australian company.”
The government is drafting changes to the Act, which has been in place for more than 20 years.
But Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, who has portfolio responsibilities for aviation, says the future of Qantas is in the hands of the company.
He backed the tough measures the company was proposing to address its financial position. Qantas would have to be better managed with a more productive workforce than any of its competitors to remain strong.
“Change is inevitable, and that’s inevitable in every industry,” Mr Truss told ABC radio.