Qantas CEO Rejects Calls To Resign By Bumping Fares Up 20% And Cutting Flights

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    Qantas

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    QF/QFA

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

    Year Founded:
    1920

    Alliance:
    oneworld

    CEO:
    Alan Joyce

    Country:
    Australia

As commentators and the public digest the massive losses made by Qantas over the last three years, two points stand out. The first is that calls for CEO Alan Joyce to resign are falling on deaf ears, and the second is that higher fares are his chosen way out of losses.

Yesterday, Qantas posted a statutory loss of A$1.19 billion ($821 million) for FY 2022. It is the third consecutive year that Qantas has lost more than A$1 billion ($690 million), with COVID era losses now close to $7 billion ($4.82 b). In his report, Joyce said, “This brings our total losses since the start of the pandemic to more than A$7 billion ($4.83b) and takes lost revenue to more than A$25 billion ($17.25b). To put that into perspective, on a statutory basis, COVID cost us more money in the past three years than we made in the five years before that.”

SIMPLEFLYING VIDEO OF THE DAY

Jetstar is the answer to higher Qantas fares

Qantas fares are going up so the CEO suggests people can fly cheaper on its LCC, Jetstar. Photo: Jetstar

In FY 2022, Qantas Domestic lost A$765 million ($528m) and Jetstar A$795 million ($548m), with International also losing money. The fuel bill is A$1 billion ($690m) more than in 2019, and Joyce said that fares would have to rise if Qantas is to return to profit. It is increasing domestic fares by 10% and international fares by 20% while cutting domestic capacity to 93% of 2019 levels, down from 110% in April. Ever the master of deflection, Joyce pointed out that anyone looking for cheap fares would still be able to find them at Jetstar. “Jetstar is estimated to carry 13 million people in the coming year, and five million of them will travel, even in this oil price environment, for under $100 and ten million will travel for under $200.”


Joyce didn’t shy away from poor performance issues, saying that the pandemic had tested everyone and “we’re the first to admit we haven’t got everything right. But we don’t hold back, we’ve been out there apologizing for the mistakes we have made for not delivering what the customers expect from us.” When asked about the calls for his resignation, Joyce replied:

“It’s part of the job. You recognize in this job that Qantas is so passionately loved by a load of Australians, it is the national carrier, it is a company that people regard as iconic, therefore you do get the highs and the lows associated with that.”

More Dreamliners for the 16-hour flight to JFK

On a brighter note, Qantas announced a new service from Auckland (AKL) to New York JFK Airport (JFK), although it won’t take off until June next year. Flights from Australia will connect with the new route, eliminating the dreaded transit through Los Angeles (LAX). The 16-hour flight will be operated by Boeing B787 Dreamliners, with three new aircraft due for delivery before the end of June. Qantas already has a fleet of 11 B787-9s with an average age of just 3.4 years.


Qantas is adding three more B787 Dreamliners in time for the new route from Auckland to New York. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Joyce has run Qantas for 14 years and weathered some very rough storms along the way. As well as external shocks, he decided in 2011 to ground the entire Qantas fleet during negotiations with workers. Plenty of people wanted him fired then and are now calling for his resignation. Public and media sentiment is running against Joyce, not only because of the huge losses but more so because of the shambolic way the airline has treated passengers since borders reopened.

When the first signs of chaos emerged at Easter, Joyce fanned the flames by blaming lengthy queues on “passengers not being match-fit for travel.” It has taken months for Qantas to recognize the pain it was causing customers, with Joyce finally issuing his mea culpa apology this week.

He bristled when asked if the airline’s poor performance risked customers switching to Virgin Australia or Rex, although he did admit Qantas’ reputation had taken a beating over the past year. Adding that Virgin’s performance was “equally as bad,” he said: “This is an industry problem, let’s not pretend it’s just a Qantas problem. Our competitive position, if anything, is strengthening, and the capacity cuts we’re doing are happening across the industry.”

Over to our Qantas passengers for their thoughts.

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