Qantas International can only fly high through smart investment in the right aircraft

Qantas International can only fly high through smart investment in the right aircraft

The Australian and International Pilots Association is urging Qantas management to learn the lessons of the past and strategically invest in the right aircraft for Qantas International so it can return to its former prestige and profitability. 

AIPA President Nathan Safe said although pilots recognised change was necessary for Qantas International to position itself for the future, focussing on cuts alone would not produce positive results. 

"Cuts are only one half of the equation and, frankly, it's the easy half for management. The more challenging problem is how to strategically invest for future growth," Mr Safe said. 

"Qantas management has got this badly wrong since privatisation, primarily through poor aircraft choices. Neglecting to purchase fuel-efficient B-777s was foolish and has cost the airline dearly. Qantas literally cannot afford to repeat the mistake.

"Qantas International is a prestige brand and passengers rightly demand the highest quality. For the business to be successful Qantas needs to be offering the right aircraft. Today that means investing in new B-787s. 

"Of course, considerable expense would be involved, but that's business. You need to invest strategically if you want to generate growth. Slashing away and simply hoping things will turn around can never be the solution. You can't cut your way to long-term success."

Mr Safe noted the new holding structure and corporate entity for Qantas International to attract external investment, which was triggered by changes to the Qantas Sale Act. He said the Federal Government should be taking a more active role in ensuring the viability of Qantas. 

"International aviation is not a rational, free market system," Mr Safe said.

"Governments around the world play a critical role. The Australian Government cannot simply turn away and expect Qantas to play by free market rules not being observed by the rest of the world. 

"We know relations between management and Canberra have been understandably strained by recent history. But we need to put that behind us now because the fact is Qantas management needs to have a cooperative relationship with the Australian Parliament if it is to succeed into the future."