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Qantas bid fails, but APA considers alternatives

Airline Partners Australia (APA) has called off its bid for Qantas, in the interest of restoring stability at the carrier. APA confirmed however that it is considering alternatives, including a…

Airline Partners Australia (APA) has called off its bid for Qantas, in the interest of restoring stability at the carrier. APA confirmed however that it is considering alternatives, including a revised offer, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation reported.

Any fresh bid is unlikely for at least three to six months, by which time the aviation landscape within Australia will have significantly changed, said the Centre`s Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison.

The threat, and then reality, of a new entrant will depress yields, while international competition will also intensify (it is less than six months until Singapore Airlines launches A380 services into Sydney, with an all-new business class product, and an overall increase in capacity).

The predicted more challenging second half conditions may actually aid APA (or any other bidder) in making a successful bid for Qantas. However, a fresh bidder would have to deal with the challenges of financing an improved bid (a minimum 15% premium on the current bid), not to mention a skeptical public, significant regulatory hoops, disenchanted unions and investors and possibly a re-composed Board, according to the Centre`s flagship Asia Pacific Airline Daily report.

This is a highly politically sensitive area – a sensitivity that is greatly increased as the Federal election looms in late 3Q07, said Mr Harbison.

The prospects of a revised bid are slim. Meanwhile, speculative holdings (including many derivative trades) dominate the Qantas share registry, suggesting that the share price will remain turbulent for at least three months. This backwash could potentially be quite threatening for Qantas if difficult airline market conditions develop.

Big changes could be ahead at Qantas in coming days. Speculation intensifies over the continued role of chairman, Margaret Jackson.

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