The Australian government plans to ease limits on foreign ownership of flagship carrier Qantas Airways while continuing to protect lucrative routes between Australia and the U.S. Under a government proposal released Tuesday, foreign airlines could buy as much as 49% of the Australian carrier, up from 35% under current law. The proposal also stipulated that U.S. routes would continue to be limited to Qantas, United Airlines and V Australia, a planned offshoot of Virgin Blue. Almost immediately after the Australian government issued its green paper on the future of aviation, British Airways announced it was in merger talks with Qantas.
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