Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon has asked the Australian government to lift the 49% foreign investment cap on the airline, insisting the move would allow the carrier to boost regional services. He says regional operations have grown almost 30% since the collapse of Ansett. But Qantas shares dropped with reports that the government intends to reject Dixon's appeal.

Dixon says removal of foreign investment limits would ensure the airline remains globally competitive while retaining its Australian identity. "The limitation on foreign ownership is stopping the airline reaching its full potential. It also imposes an artificial ceiling on our share price and increases our cost of capital," he says.

Foreign investors would not be allowed to control Qantas, to ensure it continues to satisfy bilateral air service requirements.

Source: Flight International