For the love of Qantas, sack Alan Joyce

For the love of Qantas, sack Alan Joyce.

I couldn’t agree more. Alan Joyce has been an unmitigated disaster for Qantas. He should have gone before now. You can add the board to that – in large part a bunch of right wing dinosaurs with a sense of entitlement and their heads buried in the sand.

This article lays out most of the poor decisions Joyce has made as CEO. Let me add one more, very fundamental reason.

Qantas remains an iconic brand, but badly tarnished. When he came on board Qantas was still seen with great affection by most Australians. It was our national airline, the oldest continuously running airline in the world, the only airline never to have suffered a fatality, an airline generally reliable in terms of performance and service.

Since assuming the mantle, Joyce – who comes from a budget airline background – has trashed a lot of that. Prices have gone up while service levels have gone down. Performance and reliability have suffered thanks to a confrontational attitude taken by CEO and board, and by the decision to effectively offshore most of the maintenance. (Qantas retains it’s zero fatality record, but will surely be threatened thanks to this decision, as many near misses in recent years demonstrate).

Joyce has taken a budget perspective and a cynical attitude towards the national carrier. Putting aside the strategic blunders, well explained in this article, and the rorting of the frequent flyer program, what Joyce and the board have effectively done is devalue that intangible which made Qantas such a valuable commodity – it’s reputation.

I’m often staggered at how senior management fail to grasp the true value of the business they’re in charge off. A balance sheet is one thing, but goodwill – which was huge in the case of Qantas – can dwarf it. Their ads claiming that they Still Call Australia home actually seemed to ring true.

Once upon a time most Australians had a loyalty towards Qantas. I know I did. Given the option I would fly with them because they were our airline, and because their service was always reliable and friendly.

Those service levels don’t exist anymore, and the management have broadcast their cynicism loud and clear. If they don’t believe in the brand, why should we?

This is what has happened. Qantas is now just another airline. Poorly run in this case, and with no claim on the public it once had in the palm of its hand. If that’s not a disaster I don’t know what is.

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