Alan Joyce, CEO of Australia’s national carrier Qantas, has outlined three things he promises will return after a lengthy and costly suspension of service due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an open letter to travellers, staff and other stakeholders the airline boss said “low fares” would be a key element of getting the industry moving again.
“Airlines will be keen to stimulate travel demand to get their people and aircraft back to work and restart their cashflow pipelines, repairing the damage done by the devastating and sudden drop in revenue. That’s good news for consumers because it means plenty of good deals.”
Joyce also outlined the need for more competition in Australian airspace. With international competition locked out for the time being and cash-strapped rivals Virgin Australia going into voluntary administration last month – Joyce say it’s vital for Qantas to have rivals in the sector.
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Alan Joyce said ‘low fares’ would be a key element of getting the industry moving again. Picture: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
The other alternative to competition would be more regulation which he called an “unattractive” option.
“Stiff competition has made Qantas better over the years and we don’t want that to stop now.”
However, for the promises of more choice and lower fares for consumers the third prediction is less welcome news to passengers on the other side of the Tasman, saying that international services will return much later than domestic routes.
“We have to be careful not to take the brakes off too early, but restrictions on domestic travel are likely to lift well before international travel,” he said.
A Qantas survey of frequent flyers showed an 85 per cent intention to fly once travel restrictions allow, but quite what the network will look like is still up in the air.
Qantas today announced the continued suspension of domestic flights until June-end and international routes until the end of July. Picture: Darren England/AAPSource:AAP
The concept of a trans-Tasman bubble – allowing reciprocal travel between Australia and New Zealand without quarantine period – lifted hope for airlines on both sides of the sea after PM Jacinda Ardern told the press that it was among topics being discussed between Australian and New Zealand Cabinets today.
In March, Mr Joyce said he would not be taking a salary for the rest of the financial year ending June 30 along with a 30 per cent pay-cut for board members. The airline laid off 20,000 staff across the network which also covers Qantas Link and Jetstar lines.
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