The Member for Qantas, Bruce Baird, is hosting a meeting of more than 40 MPs with Qantas and Airline Partners Australia executives today and it’s all about keeping protectionism in place, according to the AFR.

“Mr Baird said he wanted to hear the consortium members guarantee job security, given that Qantas had stepped back from plans to send jobs offshore last year when it secured a government decision to prevent Singapore Airlines entering the trans-Pacific route,” report David Crowe and Mark Skulley.

“Mr Baird said the APA members made assurances on key issues but not guarantees.”

Never mind, Brett Godfrey was hard at work in The Oz arguing for keeping the Pacific route protected so that competition would be fair. I had rather thought protectionism is the enemy of fair competition, but of course self-interest overrules all:

Nearly 12 months ago, the Government announced the findings of its aviation review, including its decision not to allow Singapore Airlines to fly the trans-Pacific route. This comprehensive review examined Australia’s developing aviation industry and considered the national interest.

Based squarely on that cabinet review and resolution, Virgin Blue took a decision to invest more than $1 billion to equip and launch a new international airline for Australia.

Virgin Blue is increasingly worried that it’s plan to grab a bite of the protected Pacific cherry could be derailed by the concentration on Qantas. Transport Minister Mark Vaile remains onside though.

Peter Fray

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