Australian regulator questions Qantas plan to buy charter company
Sydney, Australia, Aug 18 (EFE).- Australia’s competition and consumer regulator said Thursday it was “concerned” at Qantas airline’s proposal to acquire Alliance Airlines, which provides charter services, considering that could favor a monopoly and impact the free market.
“We are concerned that this proposed acquisition is likely to substantially lessen competition for air transport services to and from regional and remote areas in Queensland and Western Australia for corporate customers,” Gina Cass-Gottlieb, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair, said in a statement.
This is because this merger “would combine two of the three main air transport service operators” in those two regions of the oceanic country, according to her, she added.
Qantas and Alliance, which provide corporate air transport services in Australia’s remote and rural regions, compete with each other to provide services to resource extraction companies that need to move their swallow workers between their home towns and mining camps.
According to the commission, the Qantas acquisition proposal would eliminate Alliance as its only competitor on the route between the city of Brisbane and the town of Moranbah, in northern Australia, and affect the entry of other companies to compete against the company in the regional market.
Qantas, which has almost a 20 percent stake in Alliance and announced in May a preliminary agreement to acquire all shares of this charter company, said in a statement that its plan does not affect competition in the charter market of Australian regional aviation.
Alliance supplies about 30 percent of charter services, while the rest of the routes are divided between Qantas and Virgin Australia, with 23 percent, as well as other operators, according to a statement from the country’s flag carrier. EFE