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Analysis and Comment (60)

Qantas is investing in a loss-making strategy, and there’s no easy way out. Qantas is investing in a loss-making strategy, and there’s no easy way out. Dave Hunt/AAP

Qantas can bleed now or later, but capacity war must end

Tony Abbott has thrown a curve ball at Qantas in refusing to offer up the debt guarantee it wanted, but seeking to abolish Part 3 of the Qantas Sale Act in its entirety. This opens the door to foreign…
Qantas: out of options? Qantas: out of options? Neuwieser/Flickr

Nothing short of a debt guarantee will save Qantas

Imagine that Virgin Australia was majority owned by a Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE). Then, if the owners of Virgin tipped A$350 million of new equity into the company to sustain Virgin through a…
Qantas chief Alan Joyce and CFO Gareth Evans have a lot of work to do to return Qantas to profitability. Qantas chief Alan Joyce and CFO Gareth Evans have a lot of work to do to return Qantas to profitability. Quentin Jones/AAP

Qantas job cuts just the start in long haul to recovery

Virgin Australia has joined arch rival Qantas in delivering a multi-million dollar half-year loss - albeit on a smaller scale. Both airlines have swung from profit to loss - Virgin from a prior half-year…
Are “better jobs” ahead for sacked Qantas workers? Are “better jobs” ahead for sacked Qantas workers? Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Qantas workers will be joining a growing job queue

The exact nature and location of the job cuts announced yesterday at Qantas are still sketchy, but Alan Joyce’s announcement indicates 5000 equivalent full-time jobs will be cut in the next three years…
Qantas doesn’t just have a cost management problem: its strategy is failing. Qantas doesn’t just have a cost management problem: its strategy is failing. AAP

The 5000 Qantas job losses should include Alan Joyce

As was widely expected, Qantas this morning announced a major restructure of its operations. Included in that announcement are: 5000 job losses. A fleet restructure. Salary freezes. Route restructures…
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce: “An unacceptable result”. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce: “An unacceptable result”. Paul Miller/AAPImage

Qantas to slash 5000 jobs in bid to save $2bn: experts react

Qantas will cut 5000 jobs, freeze wages of all staff, and sell or defer buying more than 50 aircraft in a bid to cut A$2 billion in costs. The airline said the roles to be lost include 1500 management…
Qantas is heading into difficult times, but is it still a good investment? Qantas is heading into difficult times, but is it still a good investment? Mick Tsikas/AAP

Qantas needs tough love, not corporate welfare

So it begins – a company running to Canberra with a good story and in need of some or other political favour. To be fair, these companies tend to have very good stories – consumer safety, national security…
Qantas is poised to receive some form of government assistance, but will it act in the national interest? Qantas is poised to receive some form of government assistance, but will it act in the national interest? griffs0000/Flickr

Qantas can’t have it both ways on foreign ownership

The Federal Government appears ready to “throw a lifeline” to Qantas, which has been seeking a government-backed debt guarantee and a lifting of the 49% foreign ownership limit in the Qantas Sale Act…
The days when Qantas flew the flag as an iconic government business and public service still inspire public nostalgia. The days when Qantas flew the flag as an iconic government business and public service still inspire public nostalgia. AAP/Paul Miller

Public’s view of the politics of privatisation comes full circle

Sometimes in politics Newton’s Third Law – for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction – is applicable. Australia has a long history of public ownership, but it also has a long history of…
Up, up and away! Up, up and away! Lotus Carroll

And the award for the safest airline in 2013 goes to …

At the beginning of each year an array of awards are given in numerous industries to the top performers of the prior year. In the arts, Cate Blanchett won a Golden Globe last week for her performance in…
Debt; dollar; deficit - the mantra for this year, amid a turbulent political period. Debt; dollar; deficit - the mantra for this year, amid a turbulent political period. AAP

2013, the year that was: Business and Economy

Debt. Dollar. Deficits. Three little words so close to the hearts of our contributors in a year dominated by a critical federal election, a waning mining boom and continuing international turbulence. The…
Floating the Australian dollar helped us flourish - but was no panacea to all economic ills. Floating the Australian dollar helped us flourish - but was no panacea to all economic ills. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

The float Australia had to have?

The Australian dollar was floated this day in 1983. By 1985, it seemed to take on water, list badly, and sink. And that actually was the idea. The real exchange rate – roughly, the dollar rate, adjusted…
Does the ABC have any business providing entertainment to the masses? Does the ABC have any business providing entertainment to the masses? ABC TV/AAP

Public interest or public choice? Your $1.2bn ABC

Australia is about to have a debate on the role of government in business. That debate is going to be spread over several issues – Qantas’ junk bond status, Holden’s Australian manufacturing decision…
What effect will the new uniform have on the Qantas workforce? What effect will the new uniform have on the Qantas workforce? Qantas

Goodbye Australiana, hello world: the new Qantas uniforms

It’s hard to imagine it today, but once people would put down their newspapers to stop and stare at young women as they strolled through airport terminals wearing figure-hugging suits, the half-winged…
Jetstar Hong Kong remains grounded, as it awaits government approval. Jetstar Hong Kong remains grounded, as it awaits government approval. danzden/Flickr

Asia should shine brighter for blinkered Qantas

The downgrade of Qantas' credit rating to junk status by Standard & Poor’s has sparked serious concern for the future of the airline. But the fact is the airline industry has largely been unprofitable…
Qantas management are weighing up available options to bring the troubled airline back to profitability. Qantas management are weighing up available options to bring the troubled airline back to profitability.

Cost-heavy Qantas must look beyond government bailout

Yesterday’s Qantas guidance of a first-half loss of up to A$300 million is a continuation of poor financial performance which began in 2009. It’s not since then that Qantas has delivered a return on equity…
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is under pressure, with the airline flagging a $300 million half-year loss. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is under pressure, with the airline flagging a $300 million half-year loss. Alan Porritt/AAP

Runway to junk looms large for cash flow negative Qantas

Qantas has flagged deteriorating trading conditions and a potential A$300 million half-year loss in a statement to the market that has sent its share price tumbling. The airline has stepped up its cost…
Airport lounges, loved by frequent flyers, don’t necessarily engender brand loyalty. Airport lounges, loved by frequent flyers, don’t necessarily engender brand loyalty. Richard Moross/Flickr

Airline lounge war could prove futile for Qantas and Virgin

Recently Qantas and Virgin have been fighting a war for “high value” corporate contracts by refurbishing their invitation-only lounges. But is this a wise strategy? The airline industry has long been stuck…
The Qantas vs Virgin war is now being fought on a broader battleground, with new players rapidly gaining ground. The Qantas vs Virgin war is now being fought on a broader battleground, with new players rapidly gaining ground. Michael Coghlan via Flickr

Aussie airlines feel the pressure as international competition strengthens

The most recent round of what is presented in Australia as a battle for supremacy in a two-horse race saw Qantas and Virgin Australia revealing their annual results. Qantas reported a net profit for the…
Emirates President Tim Clark and Qantas CEO Alan Joyce have plenty to smile about, with their partnership producing impressive first-year results. Emirates President Tim Clark and Qantas CEO Alan Joyce have plenty to smile about, with their partnership producing impressive first-year results. APP

Modest profit jump puts spring in Qantas step

Hopping from a A$250 million net profit for the 2010/11 financial year to a A$245 million net loss next period can make any CEO skip a few heartbeats, but this doesn’t deter Qantas chief executive Alan…
Although tightly linked to each other, airlines and the aircraft manufacturing industry don’t generally seem to be heading in the same direction. Although tightly linked to each other, airlines and the aircraft manufacturing industry don’t generally seem to be heading in the same direction. Flickr/FreeFoto

One flies planes, the other makes money: the two sides of aviation

A few months ago I was invited to a small gathering organised by executives from a large international airline (one you most certainly have heard of). About a dozen of us were there and the mix was varied…
While airlines struggle to mitigate costs of operation, frequent flyer programs have become lucrative businesses in their own right. While airlines struggle to mitigate costs of operation, frequent flyer programs have become lucrative businesses in their own right. AAP/Dan Peled

Airlines spread their wings with omnipresent loyalty programs

Frequent flyer programs have long since expanded out of their airlines, with points now being exchanged across supermarkets, banks and insurance companies. Australia has two domestically owned frequent…
An alliance with China Eastern Airlines could provide Qantas with a solid growth strategy. An alliance with China Eastern Airlines could provide Qantas with a solid growth strategy. AAP

Beyond Emirates: China-Eastern tie-up allows Qantas to spread its wings

It’s been a tough year for Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. Last year’s announcement of the airline’s first loss since privatisation, a new partnership with Emirates and the collapse of joint venture negotiations…
US regulators have grounded all 787 Dreamliners until a battery fire risk is fully assessed and fixed. US regulators have grounded all 787 Dreamliners until a battery fire risk is fully assessed and fixed. Flickr: Drewski2112

Grounded: looking at the 787 Dreamliner recent troubles

This week, US civil aviation safety regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took the massive step of grounding all US Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Its equivalent European counterpart, the European…
The same day tourism professionals gathered to hear a glowing report from Tourism Australia, Qantas dumped its promotional sponsorship with the national body. The same day tourism professionals gathered to hear a glowing report from Tourism Australia, Qantas dumped its promotional sponsorship with the national body.

By dumping Tourism Australia deal, Qantas hands a golden opportunity to Virgin

One week ago, two very different groups gathered in two different cities to talk about tourism. In Sydney, more than 250 industry professionals were being briefed by Tourism Australia chief Andrew McEvoy…
Previously close, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon are now at loggerheads after Joyce withdrew $44 million funding from TA. But Joyce is determined his positioning strategy for Qantas won’t be disrupted. Previously close, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon are now at loggerheads after Joyce withdrew $44 million funding from TA. But Joyce is determined his positioning strategy for Qantas won’t be disrupted. AAP

Will tourist operators end up getting lost in Qantas/TA face-off?

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is a master of brinkmanship. The withdrawal of $44 million of marketing support to Tourism Australia based on the perception of a conflict of interest with the board chairman, Geoff…
Virgin Australia has announced a series of deals that will see it take a controlling stake in low cost carrier Tiger Airways. Virgin Australia has announced a series of deals that will see it take a controlling stake in low cost carrier Tiger Airways.

Virgin Australia gains low-cost and regional foothold

Virgin Australia has announced a series of deals which will see it sell a 10% stake to Singapore Airlines, gain a 60% share in low-cost carrier Tiger Airways Australia and challenge the dominance of Qantas…
Will the Qantas-Emirates alliance restore the beleaguered Australian airline back to profitability? Will the Qantas-Emirates alliance restore the beleaguered Australian airline back to profitability? AAP

The Qantas-Emirates alliance: a flight path to future growth?

Today, Alan Joyce has announced that Qantas and Emirates have struck a joint venture alliance for the next 10 years. As a result, Qantas will be taking its passengers to Europe through Dubai, instead of…
Qantas will split its international and domestic operations. Qantas will split its international and domestic operations. AAP

Qantas splits operations, but break up speculation premature

Qantas has announced it is splitting its loss-making international business from domestic operations, as part of a five year turn-around plan announced last August. The two companies will have separate…
Stuck in Botany Bay: Greenpeace activists celebrate the Danish government’s decision to halt Orica’s plans to ship toxic waste to Denmark. Stuck in Botany Bay: Greenpeace activists celebrate the Danish government’s decision to halt Orica’s plans to ship toxic waste to Denmark. AAP

Beyond the bottom line: how to reward executives for sustainable practice

Are sustainability-dependent executive bonuses the answer to saving the planet? Research recently conducted by the Centre for Corporate Governance at the University of Technology, Sydney, examined whether…
Stranded international passengers struggle to get home as Air Australia collapses. Stranded international passengers struggle to get home as Air Australia collapses. AAP

Qantas cuts jobs, Air Australia collapses: how can we save our airlines?

As stranded Air Australia customers continued to scramble to get home over the weekend, many may well be asking themselves: who’d run an airline? On Friday, just a day after Qantas announced 500 job cuts…
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce’s announced job cuts again places him in conflict with unions. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce’s announced job cuts again places him in conflict with unions. AAP

More union conflict likely to come as Qantas cuts jobs

Plans announced by Qantas to cut 500 jobs have been greeted with dismay by unions, who have warned they will hold chief executive Alan Joyce to his promise that maintenance jobs will not go overseas. Qantas…
Senator Xenophon’s proposals for the Qantas Sale Act won’t fly with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who says the effects could be detrimental for the beleaguered airline. Senator Xenophon’s proposals for the Qantas Sale Act won’t fly with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who says the effects could be detrimental for the beleaguered airline. AAP

Fight for flight: are there grounds for Senator Xenophon’s changes to the Qantas Sale Act?

Senator Nick Xenophon’s call for change to the Qantas Sale Act has made headlines across the world this week. He has challenged the Senate committee to support amendments to the Act that would require…
Qantas has cited the carbon price and high oil costs for a price hike - but aviation pricing isn’t straightforward. Qantas has cited the carbon price and high oil costs for a price hike - but aviation pricing isn’t straightforward. AAP

The upside to Qantas and Jetstar’s price hikes

Qantas and its low cost carrier division Jetstar have announced they will increase domestic and international airfares in stages from February through to July 1. The justification is a combination of increasing…
An early agreement with at least one Qantas union has been reached despite strong rhetoric on both sides. An early agreement with at least one Qantas union has been reached despite strong rhetoric on both sides. AAP

The Qantas disputes: one agreement made, two to go?

Qantas management has made an early agreement with the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) in a deal that reflects compromise by both parties, despite earlier strong rhetoric from…
Dissatisfaction over the recent shutdown by Qantas surprisingly may not affect loyalty. Dissatisfaction over the recent shutdown by Qantas surprisingly may not affect loyalty. AAP

Air travellers can’t get no satisfaction – but it doesn’t make them less loyal

Is it the comfort of the seats, the high standard of the food or the friendliness of the cabin crew that has us using the same airline time after time? According to recent research we conducted at the…
International examples show that quicker access to arbitration could have avoided the drastic action taken by Qantas chief Alan Joyce. International examples show that quicker access to arbitration could have avoided the drastic action taken by Qantas chief Alan Joyce. AAP

Qantas case shows the need for interest arbitration

As the Qantas dispute moves into the arbitration phase in Fair Work Australia (FWA), it is timely to consider whether the tests for access to arbitration under the Fair Work Act need refining. Prompted…
A fun competition, an angry public – what could possibly go wrong? A fun competition, an angry public – what could possibly go wrong? Qantas via Twitter

#QantasLuxury: a Qantas social media disaster in pyjamas

By now, most people will have heard of the social media disaster which even provided its own hashtag: #QantasLuxury. Ironically, this was everything but a luxury for Qantas. What it did illustrate was…
Will arbitration by Fair Work Australia provide the outcome Qantas chief Alan Joyce wants? Not necessarily. Will arbitration by Fair Work Australia provide the outcome Qantas chief Alan Joyce wants? Not necessarily. AAP

The Qantas dispute: What next and a recap

Memo to the Qantas public relations team: if you mount a Twitter campaign calling for travellers' luxury flying experiences in the middle of an unresolved industrial dispute, be aware there might be a…
After 20 years of enterprise bargaining, are we seeing an unintended return to compulsory arbitration? After 20 years of enterprise bargaining, are we seeing an unintended return to compulsory arbitration? AAP

First Qantas, now nurses. Has the IR game changed?

With the threat of further industrial action at Qantas looming and Victorian nurses continuing with their rolling work bans, you could be forgiven for thinking that Australia has entered a new phase of…
Alan Joyce walked with staff in August - but what will win them back now? Alan Joyce walked with staff in August - but what will win them back now? AAP

How might Qantas rebuild relations with its workforce?

It is possible to rebuild relations after major disputes. British Airways is currently trying to do just that after a long industrial-relations dispute with many of its flight attendants. Qantas’s CEO…
An adversarial approach is not the only - or even the best - way to resolve the Qantas dispute. An adversarial approach is not the only - or even the best - way to resolve the Qantas dispute. AAP

Bargaining the Qantas way: how not to run an industrial dispute

Nearly all of the analysis and critique of the Qantas saga since the grounding has turned on the designs of principal players, their behaviours in the moment and the vagaries of the Fair Work Act. It has…
There is more behind the Qantas lockout than short-term industrial disputes. There is more behind the Qantas lockout than short-term industrial disputes. AAP

Qantas is waving the Australian flag … goodbye

As the initial shock of the Qantas lockout of its workforce abates, it is time to consider the wider implications of this action. One lesson is the folly of national identification of companies that are…
Australia needs to have a serious and healthy debate on what the “Australian made” brand represents. Australia needs to have a serious and healthy debate on what the “Australian made” brand represents. iStockphoto/Hamza Bendemra

First Qantas, now the Commodore: are we losing what makes Australia great?

Reports suggesting Holden is considering phasing out major parts of the manufacturing chain for the iconic Commodore points to a worrying trend of off-shoring the very skills manufacturing needs in order…
More turmoil, not closure, is likely to be ahead of Qantas following last week’s industrial action. More turmoil, not closure, is likely to be ahead of Qantas following last week’s industrial action. AAP

The future of Australian air travel may belong to international airlines, not Qantas

Following on from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s controversial decision to lock out staff and ground the entire fleet, there has been a flurry of writing – in The Conversation and across the world – on the rights…
In debate over the Qantas IR dispute, the truth of the Fair Work Act is the elephant in the room. In debate over the Qantas IR dispute, the truth of the Fair Work Act is the elephant in the room. AAP

Before calling for reform, let’s get our Fair Work facts straight

The drawn-out dispute between Qantas and unions that led to the airline’s entire fleet being grounded over the weekend has sparked calls for reform of Australia’s industrial relations laws. Business leaders…
Qantas will now have to work very hard to persuade people to trust their brand again. Qantas will now have to work very hard to persuade people to trust their brand again. AAP

We’re hopping mad now, so how will Qantas win us back?

In 2011, brand is everything in the corporate world. While the rest of the business operations are considered a cost, marketing makes money. And central to so much of modern marketing is the brand, built…
Qantas flights are back in the air after Fair Work Australia ordered the termination of industrial action. Qantas flights are back in the air after Fair Work Australia ordered the termination of industrial action. AAP

Fair Work Australia decision reveals the flaw in Qantas' strategy

The Fair Work Australia (FWA) decision on the Qantas industrial dispute makes it clear the action by the three unions was not enough to trigger a decision by FWA to terminate the bargaining periods. A…
FWA used legislation enacted in 1993 to protect the economy from protracted industrial action. FWA used legislation enacted in 1993 to protect the economy from protracted industrial action. AAP

Why Fair Work Australia terminated the Qantas industrial action

Read the Fair Work Australia decision here Read Roy Green, Dean of UTS Business School: Planes set to fly again - but what now for Qantas? Read our previous coverage here The decision by Fair Work Australia…
Qantas management have taken a risky approach to end their dispute with unions. Qantas management have taken a risky approach to end their dispute with unions. AFP/William West

Planes set to fly again - but what now for Qantas?

Qantas planes are set to return to the air today after Fairwork Australia ruled to terminate an industrial dispute that grounded the airline over the weekend. The extraordinary action on Saturday by Qantas…
Staff are due to be locked out by Qantas management at 8pm on Monday. Staff are due to be locked out by Qantas management at 8pm on Monday.

Qantas grounding: expert comment

The stakes are high for both the union movement and Qantas, as a Fairwork Australia hearing aimed at ending the industrial crisis which has grounded Qantas planes continues this evening. Qantas wants Fairwork…
Two strikes - a term borrowed from baseball, now being applied to Australian executive pay. Two strikes - a term borrowed from baseball, now being applied to Australian executive pay. EPA/Arleen Ng

‘Two strikes’ law for shareholders, but will it curb executive pay?

Australia’s new “two strikes” law giving shareholders more power to curb excessive executive pay packets, promises to shake up some businesses. Homewares company GUD Holdings has already been hit with…
Qantas chief Alan Joyce is facing a lot of obstacles. Qantas chief Alan Joyce is facing a lot of obstacles. AAP

What will it take to calm Qantas' industrial turbulence?

Stopwork action, accusations of leaks, cancelled flights, even calls for the Federal Government to intervene: it seems the bad news for Qantas never ends. Greg Bamber, Professor in the Department of Management…
Qantas: in danger of squandering good will for the bottom line? Qantas: in danger of squandering good will for the bottom line? AAP

The passengers still call Australia home - but does Qantas?

For the marketer, as it is for the human being, your greatest strength is always your greatest weakness. Qantas is the quintessential Australian airline – more than an airline, in fact. It has become a…
qantas. qantas. AAP

What the Qantas shakeup means: expert analysis

Qantas has announced a sweeping review of its business that will include a new Asian premium airline, a new Japan-based low-cost carrier, a fleet overhaul and up to 1,000 job losses. Under the plans, Qantas…
Tiger’s low-cost model just hasn’t worked in Australia. Tiger’s low-cost model just hasn’t worked in Australia. AAP

We’ll pay more, even if Tiger returns to the skies

The grounding of Tiger Airways over the weekend underlines the difficulties of the airline business. The global airline industry has consistently failed to generate an adequate return on capital, even…
Tiger Airways needs to better understand the maturity of the Australian aviation market. Tiger Airways needs to better understand the maturity of the Australian aviation market. AAP

Why Tiger Airways' future in Australia is under a cloud

Tiger Airways chief Tony Davis' decision to sell 1 million of his own shares in the company last week didn’t send the best message about his prognosis for the budget airline’s future in Australia. While…

Research and News (6)