It’s our brand, Alan – so please stop trashing it

I have blogged before on Qantas. The last time was in support of the Qantas pilots and their campaign to keep Qantas pilots on Qantas planes. Since then it is obvious that things at Qantas have been going from bad to worse. There are many schools of thought as to who did what to whom and who is to blame for the fall from grace of what was once, arguably, the world’s best airline brand.

Blog, Qantas, Alan Joyce, airline, brand, Frequent Flyer, CEO, Passengers

I have blogged before on Qantas. The last time was in support of the Qantas pilots and their campaign to keep Qantas pilots on Qantas planes. Since then it is obvious that things at Qantas have been going from bad to worse. There are many schools of thought as to who did what to whom and who is to blame for the fall from grace of what was once, arguably, the world’s best airline brand.

Now before you read further I will warn you that this blog is totally my opinion – and mine alone. And it is not complimentary to Qantas management, board or the CEO, Alan Joyce.

I have been a Qantas traveller since I was a teenager – about 40 years. I have been a member of Frequent Flyers since this program was first introduced in the early 90s. I have travelled thousands upon thousands of miles both domestically and overseas. Qantas has been, nearly every time I travelled, my first choice. But somewhere along the way, the rot set in. This was about the time when Geoff Dixon and Margaret Jackson, as CEO and Chair of the Qantas board, decided to sell Qantas to private equity, and reward themselves an incentive commission for doing so. Happily, this did not proceed, but I really began to wonder how the airline could keep running adverts telling me it still called Australia home when it was trying so hard to sell out to foreign ownership.

Well Mr. Dixon has made way for Mr. Joyce, who cut his teeth at Jetstar, the low cost, low service, if you want it, buy it before you board option. As happened with Sol Trujillo at Telstra, Mr. Joyce has presided over the greatest fall in Qantas shares we have ever seen. Staff morale is at an all time low and the brand has been effectively trashed as Qantas pursues a low-cost Asian-based alternative. Along the way Mr. Joyce feels justified in accepting a massive pay increase – an increase that could effectively fund hundreds of jobs currently threatened with extinction.

I don’t get it. I don’t get how a board can endorse a pay increase for someone who has performed so poorly. And given that Qantas had the option of approaching Fair Work Australia for resolution on the current disputes with three separate unions, why, oh why, did Mr. Joyce simply pull the plug on 68,000 passengers around the world at 5pm on Saturday? Some were visiting friends and relatives, some heading away to weddings, some making trips for medical reasons. When he had an alternative, it is inconceivable that he pressed ahead with this action, saying “I am absolutely positive this is the right thing for Qantas”.

Well that depends upon which Qantas he is referring to. Is it corporate Qantas, happy to sack staff and base itself overseas, offering a cheaper version and cheaper vision? Or is it the Qantas that Australians have grown up with and grown to love and support? That Qantas is worth defending and the best way to fix it would be to send Mr. Joyce packing – he won’t want for money, we know that – right back to Aer Lingus where he came from.

What do you think?
Do you agree the Qantas name has been trashed?
Whose fault is it?
The board and CEO? Or the workers?





    COMMENTS

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    fredf
    1st Nov 2011
    11:42am
    This article plus one in the SMH at www.smh.com.au/business/dogfight-has-a-wider-agenda-to-crush-unions-20111031-1ms74.html are the best that i have seen on the Qantas management and their appalling tactics.
    As an ex Mayne Nickless GM in the Transport Industry when the TWU was at its worst I found that by both involving and listening to my co-employees, aka workers, I was able to make the changes that were needed and our profitability quadrupled over a four year period.
    The Mayne Nickless board during the 90's were unfortunately cut from the same cloth as the Qantas boards of the oughties and destroyed their brands, and share price, through being completely unaware of what was happening around them.
    It is a comment on the desperate state of corporate governance in this country that poor boards continue to destroy value because they do not understand that good people management improves P&L's and concentration on P&L's above all else destroy people and ultimately the business!
    Goldie
    1st Nov 2011
    12:09pm
    Well said Kaye!!
    You have, in my opinion, completely nailed it.
    When the board approved the pay increase for Alan Joyce, they must have been wearing the blinkers that so often accompany greed.
    I'll bet that even "Rain Man" wouldn't insist on flying QANTAS now!!
    I AM DISGUSTED!!!
    sydneycl
    1st Nov 2011
    12:36pm
    If you think that A.J. & the Board are deliberately trying to trash the Qantas brand, you really must be nutters. If you cast your minds back to the Ansett and TWA times, you will realise that those two airlines went out of business due to the unions demanding pay and conditions which made it impossible to run a profitable business. So the unions not only trashed an airline, but also managed to make several thousand jobs simply disappear.
    When it costs $10K+ to fly Business Class to Rome return and it costs circa $7K for exactly the same with Cathay Pacific, and Qantas is STILL losing $500 million a year on its international operations, something should tell both you and the unions that things simply can't keep on keeping on. If the unions want to ensure that Qantas simply can't compete with Asian and Middle Eastern airlines, then they will lose Qantas International along with many thousands of jobs. And please don't suggest that people are willing to pay that extra money to fly the Flying Kangaroo - we all know that such a suggestion is just not true and factual, otherwise all the online airline booking agents would be out of business.
    If Goldie were to take off HER blinkers, she would realise that Qantas had no choice but to do what they did and I would think that they are banking on Fair Work Australia arbitrating the issue with a significantly less crazy and more commercially viable decision than another protracted series of negotiations with the highest paid pilots, baggage handlers and engineers in the world.
    To put it all simply again, just substitute the word Greece for Qantas and you've got the picture.
    fredf
    1st Nov 2011
    1:03pm
    Reads the Verrender article and just check how easily a P&L can be made to any story that is required and you may understand far better than you obviously do who is the nutter! T'aint us but you my friend with your blinkered approach to how poor and unthinking a board can be.
    johnso
    1st Nov 2011
    1:07pm
    Well said, Kaye. Most of us can't afford to travel first class. We just want a reliable airline industry. Neville Joyce and his ilk have ruined it for the rest of us. The Qantas board directors have let all Australians down.
    Michael
    1st Nov 2011
    1:45pm
    Well written, Kaye.I find it hard to believe that Joyce has done anything, on an international level, to improve the peoples trust in Quantas, Australia, or the Irish. What a w**ker! I shall think twice before flying again with Quantas till they replace their grossly overpaid CEO and board of directors. I can only assume sydneycl are shareholders!
    sydneycl
    1st Nov 2011
    2:12pm
    sydneycl is not a masochist and wouldn't hold Qantas shares under any circumstances.
    I was talking about Business Class, not First Class. I was quoting a correspondent to the SMH with regard to airfare costs and, no, I can't afford to fly Business or First Class either. I am one of thos stupid semi - retired small businessmen who employs three people and struggles to make a living whilst dreaming of taking a long overdue holiday and flying economy somewhere nice.
    Porthos
    1st Nov 2011
    2:54pm
    I agree Kaye. Qantas staff do not have the will to serve their customers that Virgin and Singapore have because they lack the backing of management. Also if management had opted to replace its ageing 747's with newer more fuel efficient planes it wouldn't be losing so much money on fuel bills. Personally I had a soft spot for Ansett which once again was destroyed not by the unions as one commentator has said but by lack of competent management. How Alan Joyce can say I"m exporting your jobs overseas and at the same time complain that he's not getting what he wants from his staff beats me.
    Jude
    1st Nov 2011
    3:28pm
    Having recently visited Longreach for the first time and hearing firsthand how much a part of Australia's history Qantas is, it is sad to see what is happening to our 'Spirit of Australia'. Many people have said they will no longer book flights with Qantas. That is completely understandable. We can put up with delays, strikes etc.; but to totally ground all flights instantaneously and totally disrupt the plans of not just Australians but people from all over the world seems madness. As an Aussie, it is embarrassing. Then of course ther are the travel agents, tour operators, airport transport companies etc. who have to deal with angry customers, through no fault of theor own. Obviously there are two sides to the story but the Qantas staff and the people served by Qantas should come first. A five million dollar CEO imported from Ireland is killing the Spirit of Australia.
    thehobbit
    1st Nov 2011
    6:05pm
    I recently had to fly to Melb-Bris for work during one of the 'uncertainty' periods, so I requested a Virgin flight, but got stuck with Qantas anyway. I quite frequently fly Virgin to Sydney, and enjoy a cup of coffee, and a good choice of snacks (including gluten free options) - sure I pay for them, but it's still a lot cheaper. I expected a high level of service from Qantas - after all, the boss was paying a premium for it. I didn't get it. I had less choice than on Virgin, no more seat space, and the staff were doing their best, but I fully understand their low morale. My return flight was cancelled, I wasted a couple of hours in Sydney, and not even a cup of coffee on either flight - and a 'choice' of one crappy little pack of cheesy biscuits. No prizes for guessing who I prefer to fly with. Alan Joyce has made a totally wrong choice in the direction he has taken Qantas. It should have targeted the top end, offering the BEST, and employing the BEST staff - and making those staff as proud of their company as they used to be. Instead he has taken it on a race to the bottom. What a cynical move to get himself a huge payrise the day before he pulls the pin on the entire fleet, inconveniencing thousands of loyal Qantas passengers, and trashing the company's reputation. Tourism is doing it tough here as it is, without this disgusting behaviour. He should be sacked, along with the rest of his executive.
    sydneycl
    1st Nov 2011
    6:17pm
    Just how did he "get himself a huge pay rise"? He doesn't sit on the remuneration committee which considers his emoluments........... I'll even bet he eats posh food in Business or even First Class when that Irish wa**er flies whilst us poor Aussies who support the Flying Kangaroo get fed crappy dry cheesy buscuits. Puh-leeeeeez!!
    bellasmum
    1st Nov 2011
    6:26pm
    If Richard Branson can get it right ...and incidentally I just flew back from Sydney with Virgin on an A330 with FREE movies and free tea and coffee....
    maybe he can give Qantas a few pointers.
    Janma
    1st Nov 2011
    7:25pm
    With Ireland being in the financial doldrums for many years I would like to know how Joyce got the experience to be CEO of QANTAS…surely he can go to Ireland and FIX the economy over there…:D
    Michael
    1st Nov 2011
    7:35pm
    Good question! Just how did he get himself a huge pay rise?
    fredf
    1st Nov 2011
    8:00pm
    He got himself a huge pay rise the same way everybody at his level does - taking risks to solve perceived problems. That these risks and these perceived problems come from the already agreed Strategy of taking the airline and its jobs to Asia whilst divesting, sacking, much of the Australian workforce apparently means little to him, his Chairman and his board. The risk of trashing the brand has obviously been considered as well because it would not have been done unless the financial models proved that it was the 'best' solution.
    The remuneration review then gets a strong recommendation from that Chairman and that board to pay him more money because of his 'management' skills and, of course, if he gets more money so do the board!
    It just goes to show how cynical and opportunistic that Clifford et al are that they are prepared to use a hatchet and a club to solve a problem of negotiation.
    I was once told that I had been given two ears and on mouth and to use them in that proportion because that way I would learn enough to make the right decision when reviewing the numbers - pity no-one told this management group the same thing!
    Michael
    1st Nov 2011
    8:52pm
    Ah, so it wasn't with just a large "Puh-leeeeez"
    fredf
    1st Nov 2011
    9:14pm
    Very rarely works so I found out unless you had photographs!
    cruise ship
    1st Nov 2011
    9:25pm
    Alan Joyce is an Australian citizen, and has been here 14 years
    cruise ship
    1st Nov 2011
    9:41pm
    I believe the only way Qantas International can be saved from extinction, (like Ansett) is for it to be Nationalised (it loses $200million a year) BTW, I am a shareholder.
    fredf
    1st Nov 2011
    10:29pm
    Then you should read the Verrender article nominated above and read the article at www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/qantas-must-think-again-20111031-1ms3z.html and start writing to the board of the company you invested in and tell them how wrong they are in their actions.
    The business does not lose money but makes more than most in their industry - who is your advisor because they are telling you porkies?
    Nationalisation will not solve the problem caused by bad Strategy and by bad management but just transfer problems to all of us to buy out the mistakes made by the management of your investment - get them working in the right direction to put the value back into your shares!
    Kaye Fallick
    2nd Nov 2011
    6:40am
    Love the comments coming through on this topic - i am currently in a Qantas lounge in Melb - very empty compared to normal....wonder what Virgin lounge looks like?
    sydneycl
    2nd Nov 2011
    10:09am
    At least you fly your frequent flyer point airline Kaye, whereas many people pay lip service to "My Airline" and then save a couple of hundred dollars on their next trip by flying in the competition. I wonder if many people have wondered, if the union blackmailers have their way, how long it will take them to then move on to Jetstar and Virgin. I'll bet Branson has !!
    johnso
    2nd Nov 2011
    10:39am
    Watch out for the interesting spin from Allan Joyce when he appears before the Senate Committee on Friday 4 November. How will he argue that the lock-out wasn't an over-the-top reaction by the Qantas board? If they had an decency, all the Qantas board members would resign!
    sydneycl
    2nd Nov 2011
    10:54am
    Is that the same Allan Joyce as the Neville Joyce quoted in your earlier post johnso ;)
    Michael
    2nd Nov 2011
    12:37pm
    One would assume Johnso was refering to the same Allan Joyce, who, I believe, to spells his first name with a single "L" Neville, Allan or Alan, it's all the same Joyce!
    fredf
    2nd Nov 2011
    12:37pm
    Morning sydneycl - I trust that your three employees are doing exactly as you tell them too today!
    Michael
    2nd Nov 2011
    12:40pm
    Wish I had a party picture! and three employees!
    sydneycl
    2nd Nov 2011
    3:00pm
    Well you can.......... because you will find that the harder you work, the luckier you will get !
    Michael
    2nd Nov 2011
    6:38pm
    Too late for me--I am retired and have worked hard all my life. Maybe if you came out of semi-retirement and worked hard/harder you wouldn't have to struggle!
    sydneycl
    3rd Nov 2011
    12:59pm
    I'm 74 and still working Michael. Pardon? What was that?
    Michael
    3rd Nov 2011
    7:40pm
    Only seventy-four!
    johnso
    2nd Nov 2011
    1:00pm
    My apologies to Alan Joyce! I guess I would be upset as well if people called me Ros instead of Ross. Hey, I suppose this is why people get wrapped up in Facebook? Anyway the main point is that Alan and his fellow directors on the Qantas board have embarrassed all Australians.
    Michael
    2nd Nov 2011
    1:22pm
    Yes, that is the bottom line.
    fredf
    2nd Nov 2011
    3:26pm
    sydneycl - I was always told that luck had little to do with hard work but occurred when "Opportunity met good preparation"
    How is RHIP Ltd - company motto "More Work Less pay - today?
    sydneycl
    2nd Nov 2011
    7:03pm
    You really just don't get it do you Fred............
    jennyya
    3rd Nov 2011
    9:56am
    In my opinion Alan Joyce did the right thing - or should I say, he had no choice with the unions holding the airline to ransom. Some of your readers and yourself Kaye should look at the big picture instead of being of being tunnel visioned as are those of the left persuasion. There are bigger things at stake here if only people like you can tear your eyes off the "what's in it for me" syndrome.
    Kaye Fallick
    3rd Nov 2011
    12:05pm
    Hi Jennyya,

    thanks for your comments - i don't like to think i am tunnel visioned - nor do i believe i am driven by a 'what's in it for me' point of view - my concerns re Qantas are that there were many options open to Qantas and the management of Qantas and by taking such extreme action it has irreparably damaged the reputation - and ultimately the value - of what remains our national carrier. Taking a pay increase while cutting jobs of others in my world makes so sense and is the true manifestation of someone who is very tunnel -visioned, driven by what is in it for them and not their workforce.
    regards

    Kaye
    johnso
    3rd Nov 2011
    10:38am
    Jennyya - I suppose I am tunnel visioned in that I believe in a fair deal for workers, I have the vision that Australians deserve to have a fair media instead of being misled by the journalists and the media owners and that Qantas directors should try to make decent decisions. The decision made last Saturday to lock out workers and the travelling public was a bad decision. By the way, when I was in the FT workforce I was a union workplace delegate and I'm proud of the fact that I stood up for workers when they suffered from bad decisions made by their managers.
    jennyya
    3rd Nov 2011
    10:55am
    without bosses we don't have jobs. Many businesses are going overseas or closing permanently because the workers ask for too much. We are not a third world country and we are generally well paid for our work, so it is time to pull our respective heads in and do the job for boss
    sydneycl
    3rd Nov 2011
    12:56pm
    Here we go again......... "a fair media" eh johnso - I suppose it was only a matter of time that we get from Qantas to the Murdoch press - any minute now, we'll have the Howard haters chipping in with their two bob's worth.
    Well said jennyya. The wages and conditions of Qantas baggage handlers, engineers and pilots are literally, the best in the world by a country mile - so good that Qantas can no longer compete with globalised airlines. It would appear that johnso doesn't realise that things have changed somewhat in the past 20 years or so and that Qantas is in a globalised industry. Qantas and everyone who works in it, including Joyce, must realise that they compete or perish - Oh yes - and lose their jobs too !!
    cruise ship
    3rd Nov 2011
    11:32am
    Good 0nya Jennyya! -That is so spot on
    johnso
    3rd Nov 2011
    1:55pm
    Let's just agree to disgree - cruise ship, sydneycl and jennyya.

    Here's part of an email I wrote to a relative today. And that's all I've got to say on the matter except that the Quantas board directors got it wrong!

    "Globalisation doesn't mean that we have to lower our standard of living!


    We don't accept the inferior food standards which may be accepted overseas. In the same way, we shouldn't lower our wage rates just because a lot of Asian counties have low wage rates.

    I would be quite prepared to accept a wage freeze if EVERYONE made the same sacrifices.

    As you know, that just doesn't happen in our society.


    Having said that, if I worked for an organisation that was struggling to to stay in business, I might forego conditions etc in order to keep my job and keep the firm afloat.


    I heard on the radio the other day that USA GMH workers had accepted pay cuts to do just that. Well, the excesses and the bad decision making of senior management have just got to stop! "
    sydneycl
    3rd Nov 2011
    2:23pm
    Unless we get the productivity thing right and stop such rorts as relatives of staff having lifelong entitlements to free flights - even in Business Class - then we may WELL be faced with a lower standard of living. You simply can't expect the travelling public and overseas passengers to subsidise our higher standard of living by paying excessive fares to fly on Qantas. Your remarks about food standards are not only questionable, but are many years out of date.
    Your last two paragraphs show that you are just starting to get the picture (think Greece) but then you betray your real feelings as you fly the red flag in your last sentence. Are you really unaware of the pay and conditions etc. of the pilots, baggage handlers and engineers? (Think "excesses and bad decisions" johnso !!)
    rentner
    4th Nov 2011
    3:47am
    Good on you jennyya and sydneycl. I definitly don't agree with Kaye or johnso. I did work for the Airline.
    dickmc
    4th Nov 2011
    10:56am
    Your Government sold the brand -its not yours. Get over it
    sydneycl
    4th Nov 2011
    11:10am
    And talking about "excesses and bad decisions" johnso, did you know - did anybody know - that part of the Engineers demands in what they were "slowly baking Qantas" for was free laptop computers to be given to each member of the Engineers union employed by Qantas!!
    Would they like fries and an i-pad with that too? They can't be serious, surely, can they ?
    Michael
    4th Nov 2011
    3:55pm
    sydneycl---------I find that hard to take seriously too! also hard to believe. Do you have any reference available?
    sydneycl
    5th Nov 2011
    5:24pm
    It was reported in the Oz news pages (not op-ed.). Cue in the undemocratic Murdoch hate press now - come on guys and let's have the Howard haters and the Greenies too. I know it sounds stupid, but it was in a news article which took apart the craziness of the three union's "demands" to effectively own and run the airline. If I can get it thru' Google, I'll post it......
    Michael
    5th Nov 2011
    8:28pm
    I think you are right, it sounds stupid!------finally we can agree on something!
    johnso
    4th Nov 2011
    5:01pm
    Definitely my last postscript on this topic! Congratualtions to the Australian Senators who took Allan Joyce to task at the senate commiuttee inquiry today 4/11/11.

    See speech by SA Senator Nick Xenophon below:

    "QANTAS- Finally the truth is coming out!

    This confirms what others have been saying for a while about how Qantas is subsidising Jetstar to its own detriment and to circumvent the Qantas Sale Act.
    For those who haven't seen it, Senator Xenophon's speech of
    23rd Aug is reproduced below.

    Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (19:37): I rise to speak
    tonight on an issue that is close to the hearts of many Australians,
    and that is the future of our national carrier, Qantas. At 90, Qantas
    is the world's oldest continuously running airline. It is an iconic
    Australian company. Its story is woven into the story of Australia and Australians have long taken pride in the service and safety standards provided by our national carrier. Who didn't feel a little proud when Dustin Hoffman uttered the immortal line in Rain Man, 'Qantas never crashed'?

    While it is true that Qantas never crashes, the sad reality is
    that Qantas is being deliberately trashed by management in the pursuit of short-term profits and at the expense of its workers and
    passengers. For a long time, Qantas management has been pushing the line that Qantas international is losing money and that Jetstar is
    profitable. Tonight, it is imperative to expose those claims for the
    misinformation they are. The reality is that Qantas has long been used to subsidise Jetstar in order to make Jetstar look profitable and Qantas look like a burden. In a moment, I will provide detailed
    allegations of cost-shifting that I have sourced from within the
    Qantas Group, and when you know the facts you quickly see a pattern.
    When there is a cost to be paid, Qantas pays it, and when there is a
    profit to be made, Jetstar makes it.

    But first we need to ask ourselves: why? Why would management
    want Qantas to look unprofitable? Why would they want to hide the cost of a competing brand within their group, namely Jetstar, in amongst the costs faced by Qantas?

    To understand that, you need to go back to the days when Qantas
    was being privatised. When Qantas was privatised the Qantas Sale Act 1992 imposed a number of conditions, which in turn created a number of problems for any management group that wanted to flog off parts of the business. Basically, Qantas has to maintain its principal place of operations here in Australia, but that does not stop management selling any subsidiaries, which brings us to Jetstar.

    Qantas has systematically built up the low-cost carrier at the
    expense of the parent company. I have been provided with a significant number of examples where costs which should have been billed back to Jetstar have in fact been paid for by Qantas. These are practices that I believe Qantas and Jetstar management need to explain. For example, when Jetstar took over the Cairns-Darwin-Singapore route, replacing Qantas flights, a deal was struck that required Qantas to provide Jetstar with $6 million a year in revenue. Why? Why would one part of the business give up a profitable route like that and then be asked to pay for the privilege? Then there are other subsidies when it comes to freight. On every sector Jetstar operates an A330, Qantas pays $6,200 to $6,400 for freight space regardless of actual uplift. When you do the calculations, this turns out to be a small fortune. Based on 82 departures a week, that is nearly half-a-million dollars a week or $25½ million a year.

    Then there are the arrangements within the airport gates. In
    Melbourne, for example, my information from inside the Qantas group is that Jetstar does not pay for any gates, but instead Qantas domestic is charged for the gates. My question for Qantas management is simple:
    are these arrangements replicated right around Australia and why is
    Qantas paying Jetstar's bills? Why does Qantas lease five check-in
    counters at Sydney Terminal 2, only to let Jetstar use one for free?
    It has been reported to me that there are other areas where Jetstar's costs magically become Qantas's costs. For example, Jetstar does not have a treasury department and has only one person in government affairs. I am told Qantas's legal department also does free work for Jetstar.

    Then there is the area of disruption handling where flights are
    cancelled and people need to be rebooked. Here, insiders tell me,
    Qantas handles all rebookings and the traffic is all one way. It is
    extremely rare for a Qantas passenger to be rebooked on a Jetstar
    flight, but Jetstar passengers are regularly rebooked onto Qantas
    flights. I am informed that Jetstar never pays Qantas for the cost of
    those rebooked passengers and yet Jetstar gets to keep the revenue
    from the original bookings. This, I am told, is worth millions of
    dollars every year. So Jetstar gets the profit while Qantas bears the
    costs of carriage. It has also been reported to me that when Qantas
    provides an aircraft to Jetstar to cover an unserviceable plane,
    Jetstar does not pay for the use of this plane.

    Yet another example relates to the Qantas Club. Jetstar
    passengers can and do use the Qantas Club but Jetstar does not pay for the cost of any of this. So is Qantas really losing money? Or is it
    profitable but simply losing money on paper because it is carrying so
    many costs incurred by Jetstar? We have been told by Qantas management that the changes that will effectively gut Qantas are necessary because Qantas international is losing money but, given the inside information I have just detailed, I would argue those claims need to be reassessed.

    Indeed, given these extensive allegations of hidden costs, it
    would be foolish to take management's word that Qantas international is losing money. So why would Qantas want to make it look like Qantas international is losing money? Remember the failed 2007 private equity bid by the Allco Finance Group. It was rejected by shareholders, and thank goodness it was, for I am told that what we are seeing now is effectively a strategy of private equity sell-off by stealth.

    Here is how it works. You have to keep Qantas flying to avoid
    breaching the Qantas Sale Act but that does not stop you from moving assets out of Qantas and putting them into an airline that you own but that is not controlled by the Qantas Sale Act. Then you work the figures to make it appear as though the international arm of Qantas is losing money. You use this to justify the slashing of jobs, maintenance standards and employment of foreign crews and, ultimately, the creation of an entirely new airlines to be based in Asia and which will not be called Qantas. The end result? Technically Qantas would still exist but it would end up a shell of its former self and the Qantas Group would end up with all these subsidiaries it can base overseas using poorly paid foreign crews with engineering and safety standards that do not match Australian standards. In time, if the Qantas Group wants to make a buck, they can flog these subsidiaries off for a tidy profit. Qantas management could pay the National Boys Choir and the Australian Girls' Choir to run to the desert and sing about still calling Australia home, but people would not buy it. It is not just about feeling good about our national carrier-in times of trouble our national carrier plays a key strategic role. In an international emergency, in a time of war, a national carrier is required to freight resources and people around the country and around the world. Qantas also operates Qantas Defence Services, which conducts work for the RAAF. If Qantas is allowed to wither, who will meet these strategic needs?

    I pay tribute to the 35,000 employees of the Qantas Group. At the forefront of the fight against the strategy of Qantas management have been the Qantas pilots, to whom millions of Australians have literally entrusted their lives. The Australian and International Pilots Association sees Qantas management strategy as a race to the bottom when it comes to service and safety. On 8 November last year, QF32 experienced a serious malfunction with the explosion of an engine on an A380 aircraft. In the wrong hands, that plane could have crashed. But it did not, in large part because the Qantas flight crew had been trained to exemplary world-class standards and knew how to cope with such a terrifying reality. I am deeply concerned that what is being pursued may well cause training levels to fall and that as a result safety standards in the Qantas Group may fall as well. AIPA pilots and the licensed aircraft engineers are not fighting for themselves; they are fighting for the Australian public. That is why I am deeply concerned about any action Qantas management may be considering taking against pilots who speak out in the public interest.

    A lot of claims have been made about the financial state of
    Qantas international but given the information I have presented
    tonight, which has come from within the Qantas Group, I believe these claims by management are crying out for further serious forensic investigation. Qantas should not be allowed to face death by a thousand cuts-job cuts, route cuts, quality cuts, engineering cuts, wage cuts. None of this is acceptable and it must all be resisted for the sake of the pilots, the crews, the passengers and ultimately the future of our national carrier."
    Michael
    4th Nov 2011
    6:10pm
    Many thanks, Johnso, for your imput. I have never added comments to a blog before but thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this one! This will also be my last comment (at least on this subject 8-} )
    Kaye Fallick
    7th Nov 2011
    10:24am
    Michael

    thanks for joining in the discussion and so pleased you have had fun...but think it might be time for a new topic??? warmest
    Kaye
    sydneycl
    7th Nov 2011
    10:48am
    As they say, you've got to dance with the one that brung yer Kaye !!
    Had your introductory article been somewhat better balanced, rather than an out and out attack on Qantas management and an invitation to for others to put the boot in too, you would already have been on another subject. Perhaps it's as well that YOUR management was quick with their statement that your views were not necessarily their views! I hope you've warned Messrs. Branson / Borghetti that once Messrs. Purvinas, Sheldon and to a lesser degree the pilot's union have 'slow-baked' and cooked Qantas, they will be practiced and ready for Virgin (and Jetstar too for that matter).
    sydneycl
    6th Nov 2011
    12:57pm
    Joyce 90, Cameron, Brown and Xenophon -120
    cruise ship
    6th Nov 2011
    2:41pm
    Cameron, Brown and Xenophon @ the senate committee meeting, acted disgustingly like extreme left wing exterminators, that if they get their way will destroy Qantas and all the Aussie jobs along the way. Cameron, Brown and Xenophon will still have their jobs in the short term, as will the Union leaders (until they have NO members left)


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