Domestic or international? The parallels between QANTAS and property

QANTAS is dominating the headlines with results that are as bad as many expected, but nobody wanted to hear. Discussion has inevitably turned to how to save the airline, with the PM controversially advocating removing the restriction on foreign ownership of the airline. It is a debate that feels eerily familiar and I fear has no easy conclusion.

The connection between aviation and property isn’t immediately obvious, until you consider the heated debate that rages whenever the prospect of ‘foreign ownership’ looms large.

In real estate emotions run hot whenever reports emerge that Chinese buyers are outbidding Aussie mums and dads, driving domestic property prices out of reach of the masses. It seems that same level of emotion is bubbling around QANTAS, Australia’s national airline.

I have no problem with national pride and a desire to retain national assets, except often emotion and reality collide.

In property vendors are always seeking the best possible price. Naturally. In the global market these days there is a good possibility that might mean selling to an overseas investor. Let’s be clear -  I have never had a vendor stipulate the sale must only be to an Australian national.

In aviation travellers want to fly with an airline that is safe and inexpensive. But the reality is global competition has delivered a wide selection of airlines delivering equivalent service and safety to QANTAS. How many of us choose QANTAS because it is our national carrier if there is a more affordable alternative?

Perhaps that’s why the push is for governments to impose restrictions and regulations to restrict foreign ownership.  It removes the need for individuals to make those decisions.

Ewan Morton is managing director of the Sydney based Morton & Morton.


Ewan Morton

Ewan Morton

Ewan Morton is managing director of the Sydney based Morton & Morton.

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