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Joyce in talks with Andrews to shift Qantas to Melbourne, say reports

written by Adam Thorn | November 27, 2020
Qantas and Jetstar Dreamliners await departure at YMML
Qantas and Jetstar Dreamliners await departure at YMML (Victor Pody)

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has already visited Melbourne to hold talks with Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews regarding the possibility of shifting its headquarters to the city, according to reports.

The state is seeking to woo the 5,000 positions currently based in Sydney and also protect the 1,000 roles located at the Collingwood home of subsidiary Jetstar.

In September, the business announced it was mulling shifting all its bases to one city, as part of a review into its office space caused by downsizing its workforce.

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The Sydney Morning Herald also claimed the pair spoke about how to increase flights in and out of the state while Joyce personally scouted out locations that could house a new HQ.

Premier Andrews has spoken openly about his ambition to shift Qantas roles to Melbourne.

“We think that we have a very attractive offer to make and we’ll work through that to try and have as many jobs as we possibly can in our city and state,” he said in September.

Melbourne Airport chief executive Lyell Strambi has also said the area’s proposal is “really strong” and would be “incredibly hard to match anywhere else”.

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“The most recent commitments to airport rail underscore just how highly Victoria values aviation,” Strambi said.

Qantas previously sparked a state bidding war when it said “anything that can move” is “on the table”, including its facilities in Mascot, Collingwood and Brisbane.

Chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson revealed the new Western Sydney Airport is “part of our thinking” and even suggested Qantas was looking for “potential incentives” from states to relocate.

The news came shortly after the airline announced 2,500 ground handling jobs could be lost in addition to the 6,000 jobs across the business already earmarked for cuts.

The three-month review will focus on non-aviation facilities, including the company’s leased 49,000-square-metre base in Mascot, Sydney, and Jetstar’s leased head office in Collingwood, Melbourne.

However, it’s also flagged that “some aviation facilities”, such as flight simulator centres in Sydney and Melbourne and a heavy maintenance facility in Brisbane could move, too.

Qantas said it has no intention to offshore facilities and insisted the move is entirely due to the job losses already announced, and to save money on the $40 million annual spend on leased office space.

“As well as simply rightsizing the amount of space we have, there are opportunities to consolidate some facilities and unlock economies of scale,” said Hudson. “For instance, we could co-locate the Qantas and Jetstar head offices in a single place rather than splitting them across Sydney and Melbourne.

“Most of our activities and facilities are anchored to the airports we fly to, but anything that can reasonably move without impacting our operations or customers is on the table as part of this review. We’ll also be making the new Western Sydney Airport part of our thinking, given the opportunity this greenfield project represents.

“This is about setting the Qantas Group up for the long term as well as recovering from the COVID crisis. And we’re open-minded about the outcome. It’s possible that our HQ stays where it is but becomes a lot smaller, and other facilities consolidate elsewhere. Or we could wind up with a single, all-purpose campus that brings together many different parts of the group. These are all options we need to consider as we look to the future.”

In June, the wider Qantas group announced it would cut 6,000 jobs altogether, or nearly 20 per cent of its workforce, and continue stand-downs for a further 15,000 employees.

Two months later, its full-year financial results revealed a loss before tax of $2.7 billion and an underlying profit before tax of just $124 million.

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12 Comments

  • B

    says:

    All this, extra work at the Brisbane Airport surely with Woolworths DFO and the infrastructure in place. BRISBANE makes sense bring it to Qld . It’s Qantas’s home. Potential for multiple train services parking for days. Empty land . Did some one say brand new runway. Laid back life style. Heavy maintenance already here room to expand. Beautiful beachside water location. Staff ready to assist plenty of office space cheapest in the country. Or Gold coast airport. Room to make it yours spread across the border. Jobs for Qlders. What about Qlds. BOEING Parts accessibility

  • Vannus

    says:

    Like any other well-run business, QF is looking to save costs, & especially in this hopefully, post-pandemic Aviation world.
    There’s no ‘business model’ to compare this huge seismic shift that has happened to Aviation, & the world of commerce as well.
    The SYDQF Jet Base is a huge area, of money-draining leases’.
    Anything to move the Company forward in this time, will be done, & as quickly as possible.

  • Anon

    says:

    Strambi? As in ex Qantas Strambi?

    Sounds like Joyce is holding his hand out for more money for any reason he can. Why not ask for another $1 billion so he can crush any resemblance of competition in the Australian market. He certainty has the cronies and politicians that he had bribed and corrupted softly over the years with the Chairman’s lounge…

  • Raymond Malyon

    says:

    Qantas is something out of Oliver Twist
    If this industry was vehicle manufacture it would be shut down
    How does a CEO get paid that much for running a loss and paying no tax yet receive the handouts from the tax payers (mums and dads who are the only people paying GST)
    Every time they buy a new plane they add to out trade deficit and pay no GST
    Mr Joyce should be paid on tax paid

  • Rod Pickin

    says:

    Good management continually assess their position/s in every facet of their business, sometimes a location change is both needed and financially beneficial, often the costs of relocation far outway the benefits of that move. One has to ask, is it logical in these days to have a complete administration cost centre of an airline to be based at the airport? In the case of QF and Sydney Kingsford Smith I think most incumbents would be delighted to get the blazes out of the place as the costs of living, transportation and movement to and from the place are a great strain and inconvenience for for all concerned. Finding a new suitable arena, well that is a difficult situation particularly in NSW, is it even possible especially when you consider the total upheaval it will cause to your people who mostly have been with you for years and years, I think not; but these days with the costs and conditions continually rising compassion doesn’t form part of management decisions so anything can and will probably happen. I am surprised though that QF hasn’t, publically at least, investigated and promulgated the possibilities and benefits of a regional/rural engineering hub/s as does happen in other places. Understandably the A380’s maintenance programme would continue as is, the current A330 programme incorporating the RAAF MRTT needs maybe the A350 too should be retained and even expanded at BNE. The B737 and future replacement equipment, if it be the A320/1 family, the facility could and should be relocated to a regional/rural area incorporating JQ’s needs allowing training, development and advancement for the region’s economic progress which in turn will ease the strain on the cities. Two things are for sure, you can’t do nothing and delays in change will increase the costs.

  • Patrickk

    says:

    I’m sure there will be a big incentive to be a first mover to Western Sydney aerotropolous

  • I would have thought that there was a deliberate strategy to begin with which meant that JQ and QF had their head offices in different locations….just saying!

  • Dave

    says:

    Joyce in talks with Andrews in order to scare Gladys into giving him some cash…maybe

  • Warwick

    says:

    Needs must, for QANTAS.
    It’ll find the best cost for its’ requirements’, as the SYD Jet Base has become way too expensive to keep operating, in this post-pandemic world.
    There could be multiple, suitable sites’ in Vic & Qld where QF could set up.

  • Mark

    says:

    They could move anywhere as it doesn’t matter where the Headquarters are it will still be out of touch with the actual operating buisness.

  • Linda

    says:

    Yeh right. They consider leaving Sydney airport, the so-called ‘gateway to Australia’ but purpose to have interest in a single runway airport out the back of suburbia with less than adequate infrastructure & no fuel pipeline! That’d be a great way to send themselves broke!
    However, the devil is in the detail….
    Joyce expects TAXPAYERS to fork out the $MILLIONS it would cost to locate a new base there!
    Of course, it’s equally possible that Joyce’s interest is fiction, & his words just a result of golden handshakes with the Federal & NSW government, who are desperate to make their project appear to have a business case. 🤔 After all, corruption is the name of the game when it comes to WSA.

  • Linda

    says:

    If Sydney airport ends up with no airlines based there, how on earth could anyone expect the very poorly located western Sydney airport to have any? Unless it’s something like Lion, heaven forbid!

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