Qantas-Anyone worried?

As a Qantas very frequent flyer, I am watching Qantas in disputes with three unions. There is the classic “blame the management” by the unions and the classic “blame the unions” by Qantas spokespeople. For passengers, there’s inconvenience of cancelled flights. For the tourist industry, theres a fear of loss of passengers at this crucial time. For Qantas there is presumably the economic impact of revenue losses.

I am interested that Virgin Australia is adding capacity to cope and advertising special fares. Since their conversion from discount to full service carrier, they have apparently snared 13 per cent of the Australian business market. Thats got to hurt Qantas again (although Virgin Australia are not making money yet). No wonder Qantas has announced improvements to its Gold Status Frequent Flyer program with better upgrade opportunities and extra baggage. They are also rolling out their new top tier: Platinum one. Still I see nothing useful for the Platinum tier which I think has been rapidly eroded by the airline. Talking to business people in the lounges, they voice concerns that the national carrier is not what it was. They know change is necessary but the attitude to their top customers (Gold and Platinum) is perceived to be poor.

The Australian public in the meantime are being assaulted by messages that Qantas is “unsafe”. Every diversion, every turnback and every piece of severe turbulence is being reported on Australian national news media. Its hard to know if the number of “incidents” involving Qantas is up or just being reported more or both. In addition, there is the message that maintenance is being outsourced, cabin crews internationalised and a whole new Asian airline added. Add the strike actions, and from my conversations, I think the Australian general public’s positive sentiment toward Qantas is being tested. Time was there was a feeling of pride at seeing a Qantas tail at an airport around the world. Is that still there?

CEO Alan Joyce says that Qantas is involved in a race for its survival. He has warned that Qantas could go the way of Ansett. To bring this change, he really needs the support of the general public, the business fliers and the unions. I worry in this change process he may have lost much support?





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  1. […] This is the fourth time I have flown British Airways on this sector- and my last. BA will cease flying this route from this Friday March 3rd.  Qantas will terminate its Bangkok to London services on March 26th and its planes will turn around in Bangkok. Instead both airlines will “swap” passengers at Bangkok. The same thing is happening with their Hong Kong flights. Both airlines will maintain their services via Singapore (the “Kangaroo Route”). This shorter “hop” will be where all through Australia-London passengers will be fed. Passengers going via Hong kong and Bangkok will be choosing to stop. I have some disquiet about how these reductions in service will help “sell” Qantas as a carrier which I have blogged about previously. […]


  1. Utter BS.

    A fight for survival? They’re the only flag carrier that consistently turns a profit.

    Public support: they have it. Passengers continue to fly QF and the union action isn’t having a dent in bookings.

    The only dent is the airlines decision to put safety before schedule, by grounding planes that their maintenance staff can’t keep up to standard thanks to their continued stoppages, work bans and delays.

    Business market share: I’d love to see where this 13% figure came from, and even if this was true it’s barely a ripple. Given current activity, this at face seems like a calculation based on the usual changing of hands businesses do as part of renegotiating their annual/tri-annual aviation contracts.

    Platinum one: This tier was announced well before any of the union strife, and the lame attempt to tie this to industrial action is a poor case of the latin fallacy “post hoc ergo procter hoc”.

    I fear in the writing of this article, you’ve lost the ability to engage reality and truly understand just what is happening in a market you obviously know nothing about.

  2. Hi Michael. Thanks for your feedback- harsh that it is! For clarity, I have added the links to the quotes that you disputed my facts on. Two were from Joyce and one from the Herald Sun. I agree Platinum One was announced some time back. Am sorry if you saw me as tying it to the industrial action. I see it more as a response to the changes over at Virgin Australia. I am not going to argue whether I know something or nothing about the market. I fly a lot, listen a lot and observe a lot.
    Look forward to more challenge.
    Thanks again!

  3. I totally agree they have lost public support. I am in the travel industry and I can tell you customers are choosing not to go Qantas because of the management. They have lost the PR war….whilst Virgin and the way that Richard Branson presents the airlines attitude to the staff and the customers (especially now it has increased its international flights.
    Qantas used the wrong board member to act as a spokesperson. She was cold and dicatorial and lost the public’s engagement. Bad choice!

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