Qantas; “Book with Confidence”

After a recent shaky spell for the airline, Tom Allett spoke to Qantas’ Regional General Manager for the UK and Ireland, Paul Yankson, about the airline’s quick return to business as usual.

With its recent industrial troubles now behind it, it is business as usual for Qantas.

Qantas certainly hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in October – after taking the unique step of halting its worldwide operations due to industrial action.
The threat of industrial action from a combination of its pilots, engineers and ground staff had been looming for around three months.
During that time the airline had failed to reach agreements with any of the unions involved and, following strikes by ground staff in late October, the airline’s CEO Alan Joyce took the unprecedented decision to ground Qantas’ worldwide operations over the weekend of October 29-30.  The airline and three staff representative bodies entered into binding mediation through the country’s independent ‘industrial umpire’, Fair Work Australia (FWA).  The various parties are now involved in an arbitration process but, with FWA ordering the unions to continue working without the threat of industrial action, Qantas quickly returned to business as usual during the run-up to the important Christmas holiday period.
Paul Yankson, Qantas’ Regional General Manager for the UK and Ireland. (Qantas)

At a press event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane,  London on November 23, Paul Yankson told Airports International that the threat of continuing industrial action was behind it for at least four years.  The airline had: “drawn a line under that regrettable action” and “can promise its customers that they can book with confidence; without fear of further disruption.”
Repeat business is very important to every airline so, following its temporary shutdown, Qantas immediately set about restoring confidence in the brand by making every effort to reimburse affected customers’ expenses – with receipts – for hotel, food, and selected other incidental costs of up to AUS$350 (US$357) per day.  The carrier also refunded any additional airline ticket costs that its customers may have incurred.  Those booked to fly from the UK or Europe and whose arrival into Australia was delayed by more than four hours also received the EU’s standard €600 (US$613).  An extra ‘sweetener’ for all disrupted passengers came in the form of a AUS$250 (US$255) voucher that can be used anywhere on the Qantas network.  Qantas estimates the strike action has cost it around AUS$194m (US$198m) but it has stated it still expects to achieve a profit of between AUS$140 million (US$143m) to AUS$190 million (US$194m) this year.
Looking forward
Mr Yankson confirmed that the Asia Pacific market remains the primary focus of Qantas’ international ambitions.  In addition to its existing budget carrier JetStar Asia, the airline recently announced – in cooperation with Japan Air Lines and the Mitsubishi Corporation – the launch of another low-cost airline, JetStar Japan, which is due to start services next year.  Now Qantas has announced it is to launch another new Asia-based airline, this time a premium carrier.  Mr Yankson predicted an announcement “in two to three months’ time” (from November) noting: “Even I haven’t been told what it will be called yet.”
Since the interview there has been considerable speculation among industry watchers predicting that the new carrier will be called Red Q or One Asia and based in either Malaysia or Singapore.  At the time of writing, the airline has yet to officially confirm that it will be going ahead with the launch.