Qantas has approached the ACT government to see if Canberra is interested in securing a big new campus for the airline's headquarters.
The airline is considering merging three sites employing 6750 workers, and Canberra could be an option after Qantas contacted government officials about its relocation plans.
Qantas is casting a wide net to find a new home, also speaking to the Queensland NSW, Victoria and South Australia governments about potential options.
Whether the airline would actually consider moving to Canberra is unclear, but ACT Labor leader Andrew Barr said the door was open if Qantas was willing.
"We welcome the announcement from Qantas that it is looking to relocate from Sydney," Mr Barr said.
"The national capital would be an ideal location for the Qantas HQ and key elements of the business.
"Canberra provides easy and immediate access to the federal government and the Australian Public Service. It's geographically well positioned between Sydney and Melbourne. We have high quality commercial lease opportunities at a much lower cost than Sydney.
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"Canberra is Australia's most liveable city. Qantas HQ staff would spend significantly less time commuting and we have very high quality health, education and community services."
Canberra Airport and Qantas have had a frosty relationship in the past, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce slamming what he said was "appalling behaviour".
"Maybe the airport should be called 'The Canberra Pirates' because you wouldn't have this in Somalia," Mr Joyce said at an aviation industry event two years ago.
But time appears to have healed all wounds, Qantas' chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson saying: "We're keen to engage with all governments including the ACT on any potential incentives as part of our decision making.
"We're looking right across the organisation for efficiencies, including our $40 million annual spend on leased office space."
At the moment, Jetstar - which Qantas owns - is based in Melbourne, the Qantas headquarters is in Sydney and the airline has a maintenance operation in Brisbane.
It's looking at how it can cut costs, perhaps by moving all three sites into one.
It's at the first stage of negotiations and a bidding battle may yet take place. Qantas reckons the review of its existing sites will take three months.
It's understood that executives from the airline talked to officials from the ACT government on Monday and on Tuesday morning.
The Transport Workers Union, which represents Qantas workers, is urging governments in the states and territory not to accept lower employment standards in return for getting what would be a very substantial boost to any economy.
The union said: "$800 million in public money from the federal government had already been misused by Qantas management and the states should not make the same mistake."
"There is no benefit to the public if they are providing funding to an airline which intends to use the cloak of the pandemic to kill its workers' jobs so it can bring in workers on lower rates and conditions," TWU leader leader Michael Kaine said.
Some of the facilities the airline may move need an airport - like the maintenance operation in Brisbane - but the rest is currently leased office space while Canberra's advantage is being central and having abundant office space.