Qantas management must face stern questions over historic loss

Qantas management must face stern questions over historic loss

Qantas management needs to face stern questions about the decisions that contributed to today’s historic loss announcement, according to the Australian and International Pilots Association.

“Obviously Qantas faces a challenging set of circumstances that have contributed to today’s disappointing result. However there is no denying that this airline could be doing much, much better if it had enjoyed good management over recent years,” AIPA President Captain Barry Jackson said.

“Investing in modern aircraft, like the fuel-efficient 777, would have drastically cut Qantas’s fuel bill. Fuel makes up roughly a third of total costs for Qantas, so chipping into this would have had a significant effect on the bottom line.

“Meanwhile, poorly thought-out attempted ventures in Southeast Asia have sucked desperately needed funds from the group. Roughly this time last year, Mr Joyce called a press conference to announced ‘Red Q’, a new premium airline to run out of Singapore or Malaysia. It coincided with a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign lauding the ‘New Spirit’. A year on and these have been discarded and proven to be giant wastes.

“Similarly the failed experiment in Vietnam with Jetstar Pacific must have sucked huge amounts of money from Qantas Group. Unfortunately management has not made clear exactly how much.

“The unnecessarily militant approach to industrial relations last year, culminating in a catastrophic decision to ground the fleet, did massive damage to the once untouchable Qantas brand.

“Staff engagement is at all-time low, along with profits. This, unfortunately, has flow-on effects to all aspects of the business.

“And Mr Joyce unfortunately seems to be continuing with a strategy to sheet home all the blame to the ‘international division’, as if this is a segment which can be neatly annexed from the rest of the business. This approach ignores the fact that an effective international division is needed to feed into domestic and, just as importantly, to support the Frequent Flyer program, which is supposedly the most profitable division of the company.

“Mr Joyce is also pursuing a plan to shrink international flying to a husk, which will badly damage the long-term prospects of the airline.

“Qantas pilots stand absolutely willing and able to work with management to return Qantas to success. We urge Mr Joyce to re-engage with staff and recognise that they are part of the solution, not the problem. That is the only way we can move forward from today’s result.”