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Qantas chairman hails Joyce after pay rise criticism

written by Adam Thorn | September 11, 2022

Qantas chairman Richard Goyder has hailed chief executive Alan Joyce’s performance after criticism that his annual salary increased by 15 per cent to $2.27 million.

Goyder said executive pay had been “constrained” during the pandemic and argued the airline’s “underlying strength” was an “absolute credit” to Joyce and his team.

In 2022, Qantas has faced a string of problems, including huge delays at Easter, hours-long call wait times, and even a revelation that the cabin crew of a Qantas A330 were made to sleep across seats in economy.

Last year, the Federal Court ruled the Flying Kangaroo was wrong to outsource 2,000 ground handling roles and subsequently rejected an initial appeal.


On Friday, the business’ annual report revealed outgoing Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans earned $1.58 million; Qantas domestic and international chief executive Andrew David $1.45 million; chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson $1.44 million; and Qantas Loyalty chief executive Olivia Wirth $1.25 million.

The airline insisted Joyce’s salary was effectively 77 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels because of the lack of an annual bonus. Joyce also took no pay for three months in 2020 and for one month in 2021, alongside periods of reduced pay.

However, the report reveals Joyce has significantly deferred a decision on the vesting of his long-term incentives, which would otherwise have been paid.

Goyder pointed out that executives saw a wage freeze and no annual bonuses for the third year in a row due to the pandemic.

“The retention bonus in place for next year is key to keeping the considerable talent we have, and it depends on delivering the recovery in full,” he said.

“The full impact of what’s been achieved will be best judged a few years from now when new aircraft are arriving, new routes are opening up and lots of opportunities for our people.”

The TWU’s national secretary, Michael Kaine, argued Joyce is simply setting himself up for a “windfall retirement” next year.

“His strategy to gut the airline of its essential workforce, drive down pay and conditions to the bottom of the barrel, and leave passengers stranded by grounding flights to show his workers who’s boss has crucified the spirit of Australia and left us with a decimated airline,” said Kaine.

In August, Australian Aviation reported how Qantas recorded an underlying loss before tax of $1.86 billion in its full-year financial results.

Joyce said the result takes the before tax impact of COVID-19 on the wider group to $7 billion, which he called “staggering”.

“The past year has been challenging for everyone. We had to ramp down almost all flying once Delta hit and stay that way for several months before ramping back up through multiple Omicron waves as we all learned to live with COVID-19 in the community,” said Joyce.

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Comments (7)

  • FrequentFlyer


    Sorry, but I’ve got to agree with Richard Goyder. All airlines globally have struggled one way or another to get back into service. Staffing, Engineering , illness, redundancies, etc were all major contributing factors initially as no one could predict as to how long it would be before flying recommenced. Not Easy to get staff back, leaving huge holes in any operation . But qantas will rebound better & stronger. Alan Joyce has had to take drastic action to keep the airline afloat & some of these though harsh , were necessary. I’d hate to be copping the flak that he is, but under the circumstances I’m personally not sure what else could have been done .

  • Disgruntled customer


    This just shows how much the Qantas Board are out of touch with reality. Boo hoo to Mr Joyce – how many people did he put out of work, how does the employees – you know, the ones who actually do the work that generates income for Qantas recieve in their payrise – certainly not 15% and certainly not the bonuses and stock options that Joyce has been given.
    I recently travelled domestically and internationally with Qantas out of loyalty. These flights were not only expensive but uncomfortable to the point where my legs suffered bruising from the lack of leg space. Perhaps the Board and Mr Joyce should read up on their responsibility for the health and safety of those in their care which extends to passengers.
    In comparison, I travelled via domestic airline of the country I’m staying where the flights were cheaper, the service better and more importantly the seats had leg room.

  • Col Coyne


    How ironic the Chairman of Qantas backs his CEO. Executive salaries these days are outrageously exorbitant and well out of touch with workloads compared to the lay person, emergency services workers and military personnel who can put in just as many hours of work per day/week/year.

    The perks that come with these positions, the fine dining, first class travel worldwide and then they have the shameless audacity to ADD incentive bonuses to the salary package, just for doing their job.

    It is only the elite that support these salaries and perks, I am not naïve to the fact that these comments will be just passed off as a disgruntled layman’s venting, but then again those who consider it as that are the ones who are on the ‘gravy’ train, where the rest of us are on the ‘coal’ train. Food for thought?

  • Rod Pickin


    Yes, to some folk $2.27 million as an annual salary might sound uncouth but have a look about; RIO boss about $21.0 million, our bank bosses and many other industry leaders are up and over the A.J. figure so lets get the subjectivity out of the criticism and let the man do his job, this constant personal attack on him will only damage the brand further . By the way, as I have said before, whilst A.J. aint my choice, at this time, who else would you appoint?

  • Andrew


    Don’t believe the commentary that call centres are back under control. Yes, you can now get through with a wait time of less than 30 mins, but my last 3 calls about yet another flight cancellation are answered by staff who are unable to assist, or just say things that are incorrect. Often ends up being put on hold until call drops or they push you to the end of call survey to fob you off.
    Zero accountability Qantas, and you are alienating customers. As a Plat FF I have a very good understanding of how things work, and after the repeated call centres errors and flight cancellations, my patience has run out. VA and SQ d9nt have these problems.

  • Clive


    Cuts staff, gets a pay rise. Soon we will have a virtual airline with no staff.
    Service level KPIs drop, gets a pay rise.
    Loses billions of dollars, gets a pay rise.
    No care and no responsibility, gets a pay rise.
    Alan Joyce and his board don’t appear to be the right people for the roles, they’ll still get a pay rise.

    • Vannus


      How well do you think you could do Alan Joyce’s job, Clive?

      Don’t denigrate a person about whom you probably know nothing, nor could you possibly do his job.

      As QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce has to keep the Company solvent.
      He must do whatever’s required to achieve this, year in, year out, pandemic or not.

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