Government to allow more foreign ownership of Qantas; Flight Centre lifts profits: Midday Roundup

Qantas Airways looks set to be open to more foreign ownership, as it looks likely the federal government will alter the Qantas Sale Act.

The airline is set to announce an operating loss and large job cuts in its results on Thursday as part of its half-year results.

Transport Minister Warren Truss has said the government is prepared to change the law to allow for more foreign ownership and to lift other legal restrictions as long-term solutions to Qantas’s woes, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Yesterday, Qantas refused to confirm until Thursday reports it would cut 5000 jobs.

Flight Centre lifts profits

Travel agency Flight Centre’s actual net profits have jumped 20.7% for the first half, to a record profit of $110.8 million.

In the six months to December 31, the company’s revenue also rose 15.1% to $1.054 billion, up on the previous period’s result of $915.35 million.

The results have been driven by network expansion, increased in-store productivity and global sales growth.

By December 31 last year Flight Centre had 2643 operational stores.

The company’s Australian, UK, Singapore and Greater China operations recorded record results, while New Zealand and South Africa were also strong.

“Generally we have started the year well and, at the same time, continued our evolution from a leisure and corporate travel agent to an innovative best-in-class travel retailer,” managing director Graham Turner said in a statement to the ASX.

Shares open steady

The Australian sharemarket has opened flat, despite falls in international markets overnight on the back of China concerns and a slip in United States home prices.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 2.6 points to 5436.4 at 11:53am AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones fell 27.48 points, down 0.17% to 16,179.66.

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