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By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Thursday, 12 December 2013

History, they say, repeats itself. Let's hope not.

Almost eight years ago to the day, Tansy Harcourt - in The Australian Financial Review of 9 December 2005, PM defends Pacific route, quoted Australian Prime Minister, John Howard:

"[a]ll the arguments are not in favour of changing the policy [regarding access to the trans-Pacific route]. There are very strong arguments put by Qantas [QF] that the current policy, at least in the near term, should be kept. I believe in the value of competitive tension in any market. But you have got to be absolutely certain that each participant in the market is coming from the same launching pad as far as government support and so forth is concerned."


In short: QF 1: Australian Consumers 0.

Two years earlier, in the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement, trade in air services was not liberalized. QF maintained the lion's share of passenger traffic on many routes including the highly profitable trans-Pacific route from Sydney to LAX.

Again: QF 1: Australian Consumers 0.

The Australian government, like a broken record has long droned that it will liberalise Australia'sinternational air services when it is in thenational interest to do so.

Reprehensibly, Coalition and Labor politicians cunningly and willfully confuse the nation's aviation interest with the interests of nation's carriers. Today it seems to be Labor's Anthony Albanese's turn. In years gone past it was the National's John Anderson, who while voted in as the Member for Gwydir acted often like the Member for Qantas.

On Wednesday 9 December, it was Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce's turn to panhandle.


He hit the print media lobbying for government assistance.

Doing his best for his shareholders, especially the six who collectively own 77% of the near monopolist airline, Joyce was a tad economical with the truth.

He raised several issues. Let's look at a few.

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

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