Qantas Airways has agreed to purchase a 100-percent stake in Australian Air Express from joint-venture partner Australia Post, as well as sell its 50-percent stake of road-freight business StarTrack to Australia Post. The deal, which will boost Qantas’ airfreight operations, is slated to close in the fourth quarter.
“Through this acquisition, we will be able to offer an integrated airfreight product across domestic and international networks,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement. “By leveraging the best from both businesses and delivering efficiencies, we will provide a market-leading service to our customers.”
Selling StarTrack also makes sense from a financial standpoint, Joyce added. Even so, he said Qantas will continue to work with Australia Post and StarTrack, as both entities will remain key customers of Australian Air Express and Qantas Freight.
In a press release, Qantas said it expects to receive Aus$408 million, plus an additional Aus$5 million in completion adjustments, from the deal. The lump sum signals good news for the Australian carrier, which has recently made headlines for its financial woes.
Less than two months ago, Qantas scrapped its order for 35 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners after posting an Aus$244 million net loss for fiscal-year 2011-2012, which ended June 30. Joyce called the cancellation of the order “a prudent decision” and said it’s key to returning Qantas to profitability, the target of the carrier’s five-year restructuring plan.