IF the Americans gain a stake in Qantas, the flying kangaroo's unique character is likely to become road kill.
Not because of financing plans which will see planes mortgaged, or because of expectations of further cost-cutting or restructuring.
An American stake in Qantas will stuff the Aussie icon because the in-flight experience in the nation that invented the aeroplane is about 20 years behind what we're used to. And they simply don't understand what Australian travellers expect.
Qantas's international economy, much as we love to grumble about it, is almost at business-class level in terms of US carriers, whose contribution to the modern in-flight experience has basically been to bolt wings and a tail on to a Greyhound bus (with a couple of extra toilets down the back).
In-flight entertainment is either very ordinary or works on a pay-per-view basis; the meals are spartan (if they exist); and in-flight service is basic at best. And don't try to order a Bundy and Coke.
Technically, while Qantas might still be majority Australian-owned even if a consortium headed by Macquarie Bank and US private equity group Texas Pacific succeeded in taking control, it would be a takeover that really would take the "Q" out of Qantas.
Texas Pacific, the aviation brains behind the buyout group, might know all about American travellers -- but we Aussies are a very different breed.