June 23, 2024

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Australia falls out of love with Qantas

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In the past three months, Qantas has been found guilty of illegally sacking 1,700 workers, been accused of offering “ghost flights” to its customers, and lost 20 per cent of its stock market value.

So when investors were asked at the airline’s annual meeting on Friday whether they would back a pay package for its executives, the result was a resounding no.

In a severe snub to Australia’s flag carrier, 83 per cent of shareholders voted against the proposal. The fiery meeting at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre has underlined the immensity of the task facing the new board and management team at Qantas to restore its reputation.

Andrew Charlton, a former Qantas executive and managing director of consultancy Aviation Advocacy, said Australians used to be proud of Qantas. “If you take that loyalty for granted . . . that starts to chip away. The seemingly ceaseless scandals and service lapses mean that now, Qantas has even lost Australia,” said Charlton.

The carrier, known as the “Flying Kangaroo”, fell out of favour with unions, regulators, customers and now shareholders during the 15-year tenure of Alan Joyce, who stepped down early two months ago.

Joyce’s steely focus on the carrier’s balance sheet meant that the airline exited the pandemic in good financial health, with Qantas chair Richard Goyder praising the former chief for navigating the company through “the most challenging and tumultuous period in the airline’s history” in May.

In August, Qantas reported a A$2.5bn (US$1.6bn) underlying pre-tax profit for the year ending in June and announced a A$500mn share buyback to reward shareholders for their support.

However customers were fed up with lost bags and cancelled flights as a result of cost-cutting measures introduced by Joyce who was lambasted after describing travellers as “not match…

2023-11-03 22:00:25

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