MELBOURNE Oct 2 Qantas Airways Ltd,
Australia's struggling top airline, moved to strengthen its air
cargo network with the acquisition of 100 percent of the air
freight business Australian Air Express.
Qantas will also sell its 50 percent stake in freight and
logistics business StarTrack to Australia Post, receiving net
proceeds of A$408 million ($422 million).
Under joint venture arrangements since 2003, Qantas and
Australia Post each currently owns 50 percent of Australian Air
Express and StarTrack.
Qantas Group Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the acquisition
of Australian Air Express would boost a core business area.
"We will be able to offer an integrated air freight product
across domestic and international networks," Joyce said in a
statement on Tuesday.
Qantas has been stripping costs out of its business after a
year troubled by a record fuel bill, rising competition and a
labour union that has opposed the carrier's spending cuts.
In August, it cancelled orders for 35 Boeing Dreamliner jets
to further cut costs after posting its first net loss in 17
(Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Chris Gallagher)