Qantas investigating split licence option

Qantas said it will split its businesses into domestic and international units Photo / Getty Images
Qantas said it will split its businesses into domestic and international units Photo / Getty Images

Qantas, seeking to turn around losses on international flights, is looking at getting separate licences for its international and domestic businesses amid interest from Emirates Airline in an enhanced tie-up between the carriers.

Qantas has a group looking at whether a split licence would be the best way of running the businesses after last week announcing a restructure, chief executive Alan Joyce said on Saturday.

"We're exploring that as we speak," he said.

While Qantas' constitution and a 1992 Australian law cap foreign investment in the carrier at 49 per cent, second-ranked Virgin Australia Holdings recently separated its international and domestic businesses to get around similar rules.

Qantas last week said it would split its businesses into domestic and international units, a move that could lead to Emirates buying a stake in the Sydney-based carrier's domestic service, according to Deutsche Bank.

Such co-operation may help Qantas revive overseas operations that have lost market share to Middle East carriers able to offer one-stop flights to a larger number of European cities.

"There's no subtext behind this," Joyce said.

While the carrier was in talks with Emirates about connections between its international network and Qantas' domestic business, Joyce said he had no comment about any other talks between the carriers.

- BLOOMBERG

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