others wait in the wings as airline suffers severe turbulence

John Peel writes: There’s a fairly simple way to show what we think of Qantas and its CEO: use another airline (“Qantas tickets-for-no-service scam: airline board, top management need to go now”). We have family in Singapore. On our next visit we shall fly with Singapore Airlines. I also have family in the UK and on our next visit we shall fly with Qatar Airways. It is not only cheaper, it needs rewarding for the government’s disgraceful decision to deny it extra flights into Australia, just to protect the country’s worst airline from a little extra competition.

Confession: I still haven’t forgiven Qantas for an attempt to deep-freeze its passengers on a flight back from Lord Howe Island four years ago. This led to bronchitis and various other ailments, but my complaints resulted in the extraordinary explanation (after several months) that the temperature outside the aircraft was well below freezing. God almighty.

Peter Barry writes: Qantas was once a name to conjure with: the world’s safest airline, regularly profitable, queer-friendly, reliable, top cabin service, one of the oldest airlines, a national treasure. We loved those “Still call Australia home” ads mingled with the success of the Sydney Olympics. But all that national pride has been squandered on the altar of greed, incompetence, exploitation, outsourcing, near misses, dismal service, poor reliability and lack of accountability.

The special behind-the-scenes deals with the Labor government stink, adds to the foul aroma increasingly emanating from the far-too-cosy government relationship with energy companies and big miners. Labor is being sucked into the dark morass, with ministers being played like fiddles by masters of the art. We were promised, and deserve, so much better.

Bert van Dyk writes: I checked Qantas return flight prices the other day for flights on November 21, returning November 28:

  • Brisbane to Perth, $538 for a five-hour-25-minute non-stop flight;
  • Brisbane to Norfolk Island $882 for a two-hour-10-minute non-stop flight.

This is what happens when you block other airlines flying your routes. That and prominently making Prime Minister Anthony Albanese happy by painting YES (for the Voice) on some planes makes one wonder if stopping the extra flights from Qatar Airways was politically motivated. It’s definitely not to the advantage of average Australians.

Marian Arnold writes: My ethnic background is 75% Irish, so I feel free to label Alan Joyce an evil Irish gnome (“‘Good riddance’: in the event of severe turbulence, please eject the CEO”).

It is difficult to work out the timeline of his descent into rabid capitalism (e.g. illegal sackings, Qantas ghost flights, hanging on to customers’ money etc). Did the pandemic provide the opportunity for this latent evil to come roaring out of the boxes while people were busy looking elsewhere? Did the time in the top job give him grounds to believe that he could get away with anything and everything? Is there something about being Qantas CEO that causes brain snaps after a time? Do all these powerful positions need to have a fixed term, perhaps a five-year maximum?

I am with the cheering passengers. Go Alan Joyce! Go back to where we came from!

David Howe writes: There is something grossly and obscenely disproportionate about Joyce’s early departure. In 15 years he’s earned a small fortune by running Qantas into the ground. Shareholders may be happy with the dividends but at the cost to the public and the workers who make the planes fly.

Basically Joyce has shifted a substantial amount of money in terms of profit to shareholders (himself included) out of the pockets of the paying public and the workers. All with the connivance and support of governments that apparently see no problem with both paying the airline when it was struggling during COVID and then preventing competition from entering the market.

Warwick Eves writes: Qantas has an unknown quantity of unused flight credits from international customers. I believe it doesn’t wish to divulge that number because it will be significant. Many New Zealanders will have booked Qantas flights before the pandemic which will be now held as flight credits.

Living in NZ means that travelling internationally usually meant (pre-COVID) choosing either Qantas or Air New Zealand, and we had booked flights from NZ to South Africa return on Qantas. When cancellations started occurring as a result of the pandemic, we sought refunds but were told flight credits only could be issued. These flight credits (we found later) came with restrictions such as only being able to be used for one long-haul international flight each way, and non-transferable. This is in direct contrast to British Airways and Botswana Airways which refunded our internal flights in Africa without issue.

So we have $3,500 in flight credits which are non-refundable, have difficult restrictions applicable, and are difficult to use. Many New Zealanders will be in the same boat.

Steve Brennan writes: Before Joyce came along Qantas had been an airline you could depend on: the service was great, it was honest, its prices were fair, the people were good, rarely did it cancel flights and, importantly, it didn’t try to gouge you. All that’s left now are the people who are strained and bruised from the ordeal of Joyce.

I recently purchased an international ticket from Qantas directly and the experience was awful. Too many issues to describe, but it was so bad I had to cancel the first ticket because Qantas claimed it didn’t receive the money, and buy a second ticket. It admitted later it had found the money originally paid, but still has not refunded it. 

This then is the legacy of Joyce. An organisation once looked up to as a pillar of Australian values now has been replaced with shame and distrust. It’s difficult not to despise this man.

Philip Bourne writes: The big question is simple (‘All skeleton’: Can Qantas’ new CEO salvage an airline amid the wreckage?”): am I safe flying on a Qantas aircraft that the company continues to operate even when it knows the aircraft in question is carrying multiple and often closely related faults and is overdue a service? Perhaps as a passenger I should ask the airline when I book: “Is the service you provide going to be safe?”

There is no such thing as acceptable risk at 35,000 feet because the CEO and chairman want their shareholders to be happy. One accident and the whole sorry deck comes crashing down (deliberate pun). One look at the state and condition of the Qantas Club and business lounges will tell what a parlous state the company is in. Tired, dirty and very depressed — and that’s just the furniture.

Vickie Smiles writes: The much-reviled Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was not a dictator but one of many involved in the past and present management of what used to be Australia’s favourite airline (“With Joyce gone, it’s time for a Qantas board clean-out too”). As a publicly listed company, Joyce and all the directors (and chairman) of Qantas had a duty to behave in a certain way.

The directors and incoming CEO were not elected to rubberstamp Joyce’s or any CEO’s actions and in this regard were just as responsible as Joyce for any (alleged) transgressions that may have caught the eye of the regulators.

Robert Porter writes: Qantas has implemented the oldest trick in the book and appointed Vanessa Hudson as Joyce’s successor, the very person who produced the executive and directors’ pay cheques for years as finance director. Sack the lot of them, I say.

This is yet another sorry chapter in Australian corporate history, as was the case with HIH, James Hardie, and the banking sector.

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