The Australian government is planning to relax foreign ownership restrictions on Qantas Airways as the flagship carrier battles to slash 2 billion Australian dollars ($1.8 billion) in costs.

Australian newspapers reported Tuesday that Qantas will announce the axing of 5,000 jobs later this week in a bid to return the airline to profit.

Transport Minister Warren Truss said Tuesday that his government is drafting legislation that would allow Qantas to be majority foreign-owned and remove other restrictions on the airline.

Qantas said it would not comment on media speculation on what it will announce Thursday.

But the airline foreshadowed "tough decisions in order to achieve AU$2 billion ($1.8 billion) in cost savings over the next three years."