Flying Qantas whilst It’s Grounded

The CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, announced that he has grounded the airline less than 24 hours before I was due to take a flight from Perth to Darwin on his esteemed airline. Normally, this would have caused me some consternation, but Mr Joyce gave me an out – he announced that Qantas subsidiaries Jetstar, Qantaslink and National Jet would still fly because those airlines were not involved in the industrial dispute.

As I was flying on Qantaslink I duly headed out to the airport to catch my flight.

Sunday afternoons at Perth Airport are normally quite frenetic as thousands of people try to head home after a weekend away, or to get to some distant city for business the next day. Today, the Qantas domestic terminal was eerily quiet.

The place, and it is a big terminal, was almost empty. At the time I arrived, there were only three flights scheduled to depart, a Jetstar flight to Melbourne, which was packed because of the Spring Racing Carnival, which culminates in Australia’s most important horse race, the Melbourne Cup, and two Qantaslink flights, one of which was my flight to Darwin.

Qantaslink is a regional airline which flies Boeing 717’s, which are not large aircraft by any means, so there was plenty of room in which to make myself comfortable.

I ventured up into the Qantas Club, which is where the privileged can relax before boarding, and it too was pretty empty, especially when the Melbourne passengers departed, and there were just a handful of us left to enjoy the food, drink and sumptuous surroundings.

It was like aliens had invaded Perth, and all that was left of the population were a few lucky souls who’d hidden out in the only safe place.

There were some benefits to this grounding. Check in was a breeze; accomplished in a matter of minutes, and not waiting to go through security, although all eyes were upon me as I did wander through, so I wouldn’t have got away with anything.

I felt sorry for the terminal businesses whom obviously pay high rents for the privilege of having an airport outlet, only to be denied access to customers, thanks to Mr Joyce’s bloody-mindedness.

This man, and his Board, obviously gave no thought whatsoever to the plight of the Qantas customers who were given no notice of the airline’s grounding. As an exercise in generating customer satisfaction it was definitely world’s worst practise. Mr Joyce on one hand was complaining about the union’s ability to inconvenience customers, yet, in one foul swoop, his act of bastardry left tens of thousands of his customers in the lurch and some, no doubt, in very perilous situations indeed.

My Joyce whinged that customer were leaving the airline in droves, and blamed the unions for this. I notice that he doesn’t take any personal responsibility for the downturn in business; yet, the actions of the unions are not the only reason why Australians are using other airlines in preference to Qantas. Passengers are leaving Qantas because the airline does not offer customers what they want. Put simply, Qantas has been much slower than its competitors in offering lower fares to popular destinations.

If Mr Joyce thinks that the only reason passengers are deserting the airline is because of the unions, then he is delusional. If Mr Joyce negotiates with the unions the same way that he negotiates with his own customers, that is denying them services with no notice and no means for them to express their displeasure, then it is no wonder he is having problems.

There was a time when Qantas had an enviable reputation as a quality airline; Mr Joyce has seen to it that this once great airline has become a laughing stock in the aviation world. Unions aren’t responsible for that change in attitude – he is. Mr Joyce said that the unions were costing the airline up to $15 million per week. So how much are his actions costing the airline now? What sane CEO would orchestrate such a miserable public relations disaster?

The unions may have caused My Joyce some grief, but at least their members kept the airline flying. Mr Joyce and his Board have, in one foul swoop, ceased the company’s core business.

All they need do now is change the company logo – from the Flying Kangaroo, to the Falling Kangaroo.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>