Pilots bid to block Qantas sale

Pilots in Australia are considering blocking the sale of Qantas by putting their personal savings into the airline. This comes amid concerms from unions about the takeover.


Prime Minister John Howard weighed in saying that Qantas pilots are entitled to pursue their bid to buy the airline.

The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) may ask its 2,500 members to invest AUS$50,000 dollars (US$ 39,000 ) each in the airline’s shares to form a bloc.

Such a bid would put about one percent of Qantas in the AIPA’s hands.

However, this would fall short of the ten percent needed to block the sale, although AIPA would look to pursuade a further nine percent of shareholders to not sell their shares to the consortium.

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This comes despite the attractive offer of AUS$ 5.60 per share. This was made last week by a consortium called the Airline Partners Australia it is being led by Macquarie Bank and US private equity firm Texas Pacific Group. Qantas directors advised shareholders to take the offer.

“Pilots are particularly concerned about that (professional standards). We have been trying to talk to the consortium for a little bit of time now without success,” AIPA general manager Peter Sommerville told ABC radio.

“We are talking about whenever there are commercial pressures between operating safely and making a buck, there is always a tension there and there should be a tension there.”

“It’s not about ... being absolutely certain and zero risk in anything you do in life, but it’s about being sensible about it.”
 
Qantas woun Australasia’s Leading Airline accolade at this year’s World Travel Awards.

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