Qantas has agreed to sell its 12.4 percent stake in Helloworld for $33 million.
The news also means that Andrew Finch, the airline group’s general counsel, has resigned as director of the travel agency.
The sale price was $1.72 per share and the transaction will be recorded in Qantas’ accounts for FY23.
Qantas has been a shareholder since 2008 when the company was spun off from a merger of Qantas Holidays and Jetset Travel.
Helloworld itself was founded in 2013 after the consolidation of Harvey World Travel, Travelscene, Jetset and Travelworld.
A merger with the AOT Group followed in 2016 before the company name was changed to Helloworld Travel in 2017.
It now employs more than 600 people in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Europe.
Vanessa Hudson, Qantas Chief Financial Officer, said: “Our stake in Helloworld has been decreasing over several years and now is the right time for us to exit as a shareholder.
“We have announced some major investments this year as we focus on what defines the group going forward, including fleet renewal, expanding our network and a successful expansion into e-commerce for holiday bookings with TripADeal.”
It comes clear after the ACCC said it would take until March 2023 to give its verdict on whether to allow Qantas to buy the entire charter and FIFO specialist alliance.
The airline said in a scathing response that the third delay would represent “one of the longest informal clearance processes in recent memory”.
Qantas first announced the deal in May before the ACCC raised concerns about the acquisition in its preliminary report in August.
Alliance is an aviation services company based in Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns and Perth. It specializes in private charter air services for corporate customers (e.g. flights for workers to mines in remote areas) as well as some regional services available to the public.
Alliance has entered into a wet lease agreement with Virgin to use its smaller aircraft fleet for charter and FIFO operations.
The ACCC has therefore raised concerns that Qantas could either halt this deal or raise the price, hurting competition.
This follows a breathless period for the FIFO sector as larger airlines seek to invest in its more reliable services during the difficult post-pandemic recovery.
Rex has already bought Cobham, which has been approved by the ACCC, while Virgin is threatening to lose its current association with Alliance even if the deal with Qantas fails, according to an early ACCC report.