Australian government plans to relax foreign ownership rules on Qantas after record loss

The Australian government has decided to relax foreign ownership restrictions on Qantas Airways after the national carrier posted a record half-year loss.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his Cabinet agreed Monday to repeal legislation that prevents foreign airlines from holding more than 35 percent of the airline and any single foreign investor from holding more than a 25 percent stake.

But the government could struggle to pass the changes through a hostile Senate.

Qantas last week posted a first-half loss of 235 million Australian dollars ($211 million) amid tougher competition and said it would cut 5,000 jobs.

Abbott said Cabinet on Monday ruled out guaranteeing a loan for Qantas. It had had earlier discussed the possibility with the airline.