Can Qantas bounce back from 'perfect storm' as delays, staff disputes, COVID and jet fuel price hit hard?

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Here's a few extracts from a much longer article:

Greg Bamber, a professor at Monash University and co-author of a book on how airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees, is blunt when assessing Qantas’s current problems.

"It's a debacle. Some would say we're getting close to the tipping point," he believes. "On the one hand Qantas advertises itself as being a full-service airline that gives premier service to its loyal and long-term frequent flyers. On the other, Qantas is giving priority to a different set of stakeholders – trying to maximise profits and prioritise the interests of shareholders and executives at the expense of its staff and its customers."

Qantas has been through its share of difficulties in the past – the 2011 industrial disputes that led to the grounding of the fleet and 2014's shock $2.8 billion loss, then the worst in its history – are notable examples.....

"Airlines are struggling around the world and the aviation industry is in chaos. This is more of a perfect storm than [previous difficulties that have faced Qantas] because we've got things happening at the same time," says Bamber, noting the war in Ukraine which is pushing up fuel prices and forcing route changes which in turn increase fuel burn....

Bamber wonders if Qantas is placing too much faith in its power in the market. Qantas holds a dominant position in Australia, he says.

Unlike, say, Europe where travellers have a wider choice of airlines and can also travel on high-speed rail or motorways if air travel isn't delivering, Qantas "is a giant in the Australian market".

"It uses its power and strength in relation to its customers, its workforce and some of its other stakeholders," Bamber says.

Bamber also criticises the way the previous Australian government handed out COVID payments to big businesses like Qantas without requiring anything in return. He points to the US where pandemic payments were not to be used for executive bonuses or share buy-back schemes. Other countries took an equity stake in airlines in return for pandemic support.

"After receiving COVID payments Qantas responded by outsourcing jobs and by paying generous benefits to its senior executives. That was not a good look," Bamber argues.

Period24 Jul 2022

Media contributions


Media contributions


  • Qantas
  • disputes
  • COVID-19
  • aviation
  • airlines
  • management
  • lay-offs
  • industrial relations
  • baggage handlers
  • engineers
  • pilots
  • negotiations