I have another op-ed at The Conversation today suggesting that Alan Joyce (and the Qantas senior management) be part of the exodus from Qantas.
In many respects my argument seems to lay all the blame on the current management. But as Lord Keynes is often misquoted, “everything depends on everything else”. It is true that Qantas is hampered by the Qantas Sale Act, it is true that competition in the industry has become brutal, it is true that consumer preferences and tastes have changed over time. There are many good reasons for Qantas’ woes. None of that, however, detracts from the fact that the Qantas management have the obligation to manage the business in that complex dynamic environment and are ultimately responsible for Qantas’ current predicament.
The Australian flying public have been choosing to fly less with Qantas and more with its competitors over a long period of time. Now Qantas wants the Australian taxpayer to (help) reverse the consequences of those consumer choices. There may well be good reasons to do so, but before doing so the government (acting on behalf of taxpayers) is well within its rights to ask for much more detail.
That detail should include a timetable for refreshing the Qantas management, starting with Alan Joyce. He has been in the position for a long time and his vision has failed to sustain Qantas. A new perspective and fresh set of eyes is what Qantas needs over and above any taxpayer support.