By Stuart Condie
SYDNEY--Qantas Airways Ltd. agreed to sell land around Sydney Airport to a consortium for 802 million Australian dollars (US$594.8 million) and said it may offload more.
The Australian carrier on Friday said it had entered into binding agreements with a consortium led by LOGOS Property Group for the sale of 34 acres in the Sydney suburb of Mascot, where the city's airport is located.
Qantas said it expected to settle the transfer of a vast majority of lots in the first half of its current fiscal year, and would use the funds to reduce debt and accelerate its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The airline's domestic and international operations have been severely curtailed by national and internal border closures, moving it to furlough staff and cut costs.
"We'll use these funds to help pay down debt that we've built up during the pandemic. The strength of this sale and its impact on our balance sheet means we can get back to investing in core parts of our business sooner," Chief Executive Alan Joyce said.
Qantas said it was considering other sale and development proposals by LOGOS, which could raise the total value of the deal to more than A$1 billion. It said it expected to complete an evaluation early in the 2022 calendar year.
Mr. Joyce said Qantas had been open to selling some, all or none of its lots depending upon the amount of interest over a three-month process. The airline said it had received 18 bids from Australian and international sydnicates.
Qantas said the land was largely surplus to its requirements. The airline, which currently leases its headquarters, said there was potential to work with LOGOS over several years to create a so-called Qantas Precinct as part of redevelopment plans, incorporating a training center and distribution area adjacent to Australia's busiest airport.
Write to Stuart Condie at [email protected]