''We need immediate action to address the imbalance that has been allowed to persist for almost two years – namely Virgin’s unlimited ability to access foreign capital from government-owned airlines to fund a loss-making strategy against Qantas,'' the statement said.
The decision meant that Qantas' international arm would ''would remain in every sense an Australian airline. Qantas domestic, should there be a distinction, would remain a substantially Australian airline'', Mr Abbott said.
Declaring that government should not be in the business of running airlines or underwriting their debts, Mr Abbott said: ''I have enormous faith in the ability of Qantas to compete and to flourish but I think it is best placed to compete and to flourish if it is unshackled, and unpropped up by government, I hasten to add.
''The point I make to Bill Shorten and his colleagues is you sold Qantas, now you must free them to maximise their chances of being able to successfully compete and maximise Australian employment for the long-term.
''If you look at the history of Qantas over the last decade or so it was hugely profitable for most of that time. That demonstrates to me that a well-managed Qantas is more than capable