Joyce claims Qantas grounding was ‘positive for the brand’

Joyce claims Qantas grounding was ‘positive for the brand’

The Australian and International Pilots Association holds deep concerns that the catastrophic brand damage sustained by Qantas during the grounding of the fleet last year will go unrepaired, because the CEO has been led to believe it was a “positive for the brand”.

Alan Joyce made the bizarre claim during an interview with The Australian today, in which is he was judged ‘most influential businessperson in the Australia’, despite presiding over a share price in free fall during his time at the helm.

AIPA President Captain Barry Jackson said the comments show the CEO appears to have lost touch with reality.

“Qantas desperately needs a leader who is interested in running an airline, not an ideological war,” Captain Jackson said.

“Any polling – and basic common sense – will tell you that when a Qantas CEO spontaneously grounds the entire fleet without good reason, stranding tens of thousands of paying passengers around the world, it is going to hurt Qantas’s reputation.

“Yet Mr Joyce thinks overall it has improved the brand and that’s incredibly worrying.

“Qantas needs to focus on repairing the brand damage sustained in 2011, but in order to do so we need a leader who is in touch with passengers and not just business leaders.

“Qantas pilots want nothing more than to help repair the catastrophic damage done last year by our CEO’s decision. Yet Mr Joyce seems to genuinely believe that the back-slapping he’s received from some other CEOs is somehow representative of the flying public. He is completely wrong.

“Mr Joyce needs to wake up and realise that the big end of town is cheering him on because they like the idea that someone is arrogant enough to deal out huge damage to the company they lead in the name of industrial battle. He – and, unfortunately, Qantas – are being used as cannon fodder.

“We have an airline in real trouble at the moment. Despite a proud 90-year history and an unparalleled safety record, this current management has opted to neglect the Australian Qantas brand in favour of pie-in-the-sky plans in hostile Asian markets.

“Contrary to Mr Joyce’s claims, the grounding did not end the dispute – it merely forced it into compulsory arbitration, which will ultimately result in a less than ideal result for all sides and the airline as a whole.”