Michael Pascoe writes:

While the Qantas chair and CEO continue to
lobby for the right to make Qantas foreign-owned, US airlines, unions and some
congressmen are fighting a small liberalisation of their foreign ownership
restrictions.

Foreign ownership of US airlines is limited
to just 25% and that won’t change, but as part of a deal to liberalise
US-EU travel, foreign investors would at least be given a say in marketing,
routes and aircraft types. That’s enough to spark some more xenophobia, as the
BBC reports:

In
a debate reminiscent of concerns raised over Dubai Ports World taking control
of key US
ports, some airlines and unions say that giving foreigners more of a say in the
running of US airlines could be a threat to national security. The
US
government hopes to defuse the opposition, believing that the treaty will
increase air travel, lower fares and create jobs. The EU has not commented on
whether it finds the proposal to be satisfactory.

Yes, you can see it now – Bin Laden buying
25% of United and asking for the
routes to be changed to land on the White House.

The overall deal would benefit travellers
in Europe and the US – but consumer benefits are the last of the flag-wavers’ concerns.
And on the subject of nationalistic tendencies, where would the fair go be in
allowing Qantas to be 100% American owned when any Australian company is limited to 25%
of an American airline? If you could find someone silly enough to do so, of
course.