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Joyce accuses Victoria of double standards by welcoming tennis stars

written by Adam Thorn | January 15, 2021

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce delivers the airline group's 2018/19 full year results. (Seth Jaworski)
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce delivers the airline group’s 2018/19 full year results. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has accused the Victorian government of double standards by allowing sports stars to fly in for the Australian Open despite keeping borders shut to Sydney.

He said it was “bizarre” to allow people to fly from countries where “the virus is raging” but not from the NSW capital where community transmission is “extremely low”.

More than 70,000 Victorians are thought to be stuck on the wrong side of the hard border and are attempting to get home via the new “traffic light” hotspot system.

In a statement released on Friday, Joyce said he had to cancel almost 3,000 flights between Melbourne and Sydney since the border closure on 20 December.

“Behind each of those cancelled flights are a lot of people whose plans have been thrown up in the air,” he said. “Family they’re not going to see, events they’ll miss and homes they can’t get back to.

“Victoria’s approach to Sydney seems to be out of proportion with the actual risk. And that makes it hard to reconcile the decision to allow over 1,000 people in from overseas for the Australian Open from countries where the virus is raging.

“But – at the same time – to deny people who actually live in the state the right to return with some basic precautions that reflect the extremely low level of community transmission in Sydney, is bizarre at a policy level and devastating at a social level.


“If we can find a way to let these players in from high risk areas, why can’t we find a way to let Victorians in from what are by global standards extremely low risk areas.”

The Victorian government has said those arriving for the competition will be subject to the “strictest program in the world”.

The grand slam is scheduled to start on 8 February and last until 21 February, with 15 charter flights bringing 1,200 players, support staff and tennis officials to Melbourne this week. All officials will spend 14 days in hotel quarantine, but players can leave quarantine after just two days to attend training as long as they test negative.


Each dedicated hotel will also have its own training facility, which players can use for five hours a day.

“This event is very important to our city and our state,” Premier Andrews said earlier this week. “It is worth going to these unprecedented measures to be sure it goes ahead.”

Already, former two-time Wimbledon winner Andrew Murray has been unable to fly, as he tested positive earlier this week.

Joyce’s attack comes despite Qantas reportedly being in discussion with Premier Andrews to potentially move some or all of its headquarters to the state.

Comments (19)

  • Michael Hoare


    Exactly as he said but its just like those 2 running Qld… its all about the mighty $$$$$$$$$$.Tennis stars coming into the country bring their money with them whereas REAL Australians who deserve to be back here before any bloody sports stars cost the Gov money so guess who wins.

  • Warwick


    QANTAS CEO Mr Alan Joyce has hit the nail on the head perfectly, yet again!
    Wonder how many of these tennis players’, & their sycophantic entourage have COVID-19 on arrival from grossly infected countries? Going into 14 days quarantine is a joke for people like this!
    Tennis is NOT a ‘must’ during a pandemic, cfd grocery shopping is a ‘must’.
    Dictator Dan is obviously a believer in the ancient Roman philosophy of ‘bread & circus’ acts.
    He’s just a fool, & the sooner the Vic populace vote him out of office, the better for the whole of this Country!

  • AgentGerko


    I’ll bet twenty bucks that someone from the tennis fraternity breaks the covid rules within 24hrs of arrival.

    • Stuart


      You won your bet!
      More & more are these numpties’ being tested, are positive. They don’t like our rules, then maybe they should head back home, AFTER quarantining, on a chartered airliner, of course!
      They think, obviously, that this Country’s COVID-19 Rules don’t apply to them. Too precious by far!
      Wonder how many more planes is Andrews going to allow arrive?
      I’m surprised that Morrison hasn’t put a stop to this stupidity of a sport being paramount during this PANDEMIC!

  • Peter


    Why now should Victoria have QF HQ inMel.
    I agree this time with Joyce.

    • Warwick


      Yes, Peter, I agree!
      I think QANTAS CEO Mr Alan Joyce, would be having second thoughts about shifting his Company’s HQ to MEL.
      Rents at the SYD Jet Base pail into insignificance, when balanced against having to deal with Andrews, IMHO.

  • William


    So tennis is important but Formula 1 is not? There seems to be a lack of logic in these decisions, or is the opportunity to mix amongst stars?

    • jhjfgh


      In my mind neither is important however tennis is also a community and recreational sport that many people of all walks of life participate in.

      I’ve no idea what the appeal or point of formula 1 is. It’s not like any typical member of the community goes and does a spot of formula 1 in their spare time like they do with tennis.

  • Steve A


    Hmmm… you know that I am one of the harshest critics of Alan Joyce, after all, my own Australia International Airlines never got flying back in 2012 because he had turned Qantas into a disaster, and my investors headed for the hills. But, I actually agree with him for once. Why are we letting all of these smoking guns into country into any state, not just Victoria. Remember the Ruby Princess?
    Hundreds of hotbeds of Corona virus we released into Sydney and look what happened.
    What we need is for politicians to step up and to directly take responsibility for their actions.
    So, if Victoria imports COVID-19 into the state as a result of this political decision, then those politicians who allow it, should face time in jail for deaths and lose their assets to compensate victim’s families.
    Too harsh you say?
    But, we already know that this is what is likely to happen. So why do it?
    And Mr Joyce?
    Well as we all know he doesn’t actually care about people from his publicly bullying and threatening his staff, and his unceremoniously dumping of literally half of the QF staff.
    He’s just looking for his next soapbox fix so that he can puff his chest out and say “How great I am”
    Too harsh again? Well, just look at his track record of 12 years.
    ZERO PROFITS IN 12 YEARS. That is, take all of the QF losses off the profits during his time at the top of Qantas, and you don’t even make one cent of profits.
    Up to 2,500 valuable QF staff are getting outsourced to save $100 million over 5 years.
    If AJ hadn’t blown more than $3 billion of shareholders cash on share repurchases over the last couple of years, then just 3% of the money squandered on buybacks could have saved those workers jobs.

  • John Thomas


    Isn’t this the same Alan Joyce who grounded all Qantas flights back in 2011, stranding passengers worldwide? Didn’t *those* people have “family they’re not going to see, events they’ll miss and homes they can’t get back to”? Memories are short, I guess.

  • Kenneth


    It’s still a mystery to me, why Australia can’t, or won’t, use home quarantine, where people isolating are getting a gps traceable bracelet on. It has worked well in Hong Kong, and believe me, here you will be in big trouble (25.000$ HKD fine and up to 6 months imprisonments), if your bracelet is being seen to move outside your home area, where the bracelet tracing is activated.
    The biggest trouble will be, to get people to travel directly to their homes, before activating the bracelet tracing function. Some might be tempted to just quickly going shopping or visiting friends, before going home to isolate.
    So it’s probably the morale of some people standing in the way for this option.
    Cause I guess the police doesn’t have sufficient sources to escort everyone to their home.

  • Brent


    Well, we’ll, well!
    QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce’s ‘prediction’ has proven correct, in that a plane load of pax, including tennis players’, from LAX, was COVID-19 infected.
    They’re now in hard lockdown, in their hotel rooms, for 14 days.
    Well done, Dictator Dan, you’ve stuffed up yet again. Fool!

    This is the very reason why ALL Intnl flights into here, should be BANNED!

  • Ben


    Of course Joyce convieniently skips around the part where there are extensive quaratine arrangements for the tennis arrivals and zero for interstate travel.

    I’m sure Mr Andrews would accept arrivals from Sydney if they are prepared to pay for 14 days in hotel quarantine! I think most would prefer to stay in NSW for two weeks instead and then head home from a non-red zone.

  • Vannus


    To John Thomas, above…..

    Let me point out the FACTS of the situation:

    QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce & the Board grounded the Fleet AFTER 3 months’ of DAILY strikes by various militant unions’, affecting 100’s of flights’, & 1000’s of pax, August to October 2011 inclusive.
    These strikes had caused QANTAS staff to be physically hit, spat on, & punched, & Call Centre staff were obscenely verbally abused, day in, day out, in various sections’, for that length of time.
    QANTAS Travel Centres’ in capital cities’, had to have Police guards at their doors.

    This could not be allowed to continue, so the fleet was grounded.

    Passengers’ were NOT ‘stranded’. They were put into hotels, had meals, & transfers, all at QANTAS’ expense. The fleet was flying again within a very short time, & extra aircraft were dispatched world-wide, to bring everybody home.
    It’s not a good idea to spout forth when you don’t know the FACTS of a scenario, because in doing so, it makes you look a ……..

  • Arnold


    More chartered flights have arrived in MEL with positive COVID infected tennis players’, & others’.
    When’s this charade going to be stopped?
    Tennis matches are NOT required to held during a pandemic.

  • Neil


    It was inevitable that this was going to happen.Why on earth would you let International Tennis players and their onterarge from all around the world,particulary the US,& Europe come out here in the middle of a Pandemic.Simple:MONEY!!!That might be well, but wannabout the threat and the spread of the Virus to all the people of Melbourne,and Victoria that have been in lockdown for the best part of 4 months!This event should never have happened,and Can’t believe they had the audacity to fly them into the country on special Charter flights,all bunched up together on an Aircraft.As much as i hate seeing what the Victorian State Government has done & totally condem it,wannabout Tennis Australian and how they have been so determind to push ahead with a Tournament that really isn’t important until you consider the 38,000 of our fellow Country men and Women and loved ones still stuck overseas,and can’t get home because of Quarantine being taken up by some selfish Tennis players and Officials!I have No time for Mr Alan Joyce.This is same bloke who stranded passengers Worldwide in 2011,when people could not get home.Wasn’t this the bloke who most recently opened up Bookings for Overseas fights with Qantas from August 2021?Must have a HUGE CRYSTAL BALL!What a Giant Hypocrite!! How outragous could it be expecting people traveling to Hotspots around the globe while still in a Pandemic with limited or No vaccinations in some countries.Alan Joyce get off his Highhorse and do something useful for a change and worry about stepping in and helping our stranded fellow citizens get back home to their loved ones and families.

    • Warwick


      The Federal Govt has organised flights to bring home Australians’ since late last year.
      There’re more flights operating this month, & next.
      QANTAS can only operate these flights’ at Fed Govt request.
      PM Scott Morrison would be liaising with QANTAS CEO Mr Alan Joyce, in these matters.
      So, Mr Joyce IS doing something in sending his Company’s aircraft to collect our citizens’.
      Don’t be in such a hurry ‘rushing to judgement’ of Mr Joyce, in future.

  • Trent


    BTW, who’s paying for all these sports peoples’ quarantine costs?
    Them personally, Tennis Australia, or are the Aussie taxpayers’ going to have to foot the bill?
    This hasn’t been discussed on any news article, or information released by those who should be doing so, as far as I’m aware.
    Please explain!

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