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Qantas’ issues not ‘all the CEO’s fault’ argues chairman

written by Adam Thorn | September 13, 2022

Qantas chairman Richard Goyder has said Alan Joyce and his executive team have done “exceptionally well” in a strongly-worded riposte to the CEO’s critics.

Writing in the Australian Financial Review, Goyder hailed his senior staff for steering the airline through a pandemic that “sent other airlines and their creditors packing”.

It comes amid criticism that Joyce’s annual salary increased by 15 per cent to $2.27 million despite a string of problems to plague the business, including record delays and hours-long call wait times.

The 900-word opinion piece argued most aviation companies globally are grappling with the same problems as Qantas.


“This is what happens when you shut down an entire sector for more than two years,” he wrote. “Companies make deep cuts to survive. Skilled people walk away because the uncertainty seems endless.”

He said Qantas is now well on its way to fixing its problems, quipping, “If you haven’t heard this, it may be because the data showing the improvement received far less media attention than stories showing how bad things got.

“In the meantime, the corporate obituary writers have been busy. Their analysis has (mostly) been unencumbered by what’s happening at other airlines, or that Qantas’ performance has turned around.”

Goyder then said in order to “set the record straight”, he would give a “quick response” to common criticism.

In a section titled, ‘It’s all the CEO’s fault’, he said “People who think Qantas couldn’t have failed or was enriched by government handouts are simply wrong.

“We don’t shy away from the service failures that happened as the airline restarted. But any reasonable assessment has to start with looking around the world and Australia to see how Qantas compares in an industry that is working incredibly hard to get back on its feet.

“We will continue that hard work to meet the high standards all stakeholders expect from us.”

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.

The airline last week 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.

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 (13)

  • Alan Joyce: “Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has topped the list of Australia’s highest-paid chief executives for 2018, taking home $23.9 million — which is more than 275 times the full-time average wage.” From any standpoint when thousands of jobs have been outsourced and service levels have plummeted, and Australia has subsidised our former national Carrier during the Covid Pandemic, that Alan Joyce is not the CEO to build loyalty and a strong brand gong forward. The Board of Qantas are a disgrace and have a cosy relationship with the CEO each rewarding the other for poor performance and catastrophic employee relations. Alan Joyce has been toxic to Qantas and should have been removed from the position of CEO a long time ago. from an Australian Citizen

  • Andrew


    Richard Goyder is bad news overall. As AFL commission chairman, he has removed transparency in AFL and turned it into an internally looking secretive organisation. With Qantas and against overwhelming public opinion he is backing a very unpopular CEO, who has turned our favourite airline into a “bastard-like” organisation, something we love in the air but hate on the ground – in some ways similar to the old Telecom, which we all had to use but hated to deal with. Goyder must also go.

  • Mark


    Hmmm, sorry, a CEO is paid the huge bucks to be accountable for running the company – including planning. At a time when so many lost their jobs, huge bonuses are paid – great image!
    It’s easy t make money when times are good but it is when times are bad you see the true mettle of a leader. A certain ‘leader’ has managed to disenfranchise the company workers and the passengers. The leadership of this company has been happy to invoke a serious level ‘feel good’ social activities across the outfit without, arguably, properly considering what the passengers or shareholders actually think or want (I detest being welcomed to my own country).
    I’m a long-time Platinum member and I have a choice… I won’t be going anywhere near Qantas until there is a change of leadership and culture. I know many others who think similar. Maybe certain members of the Board need to go if they think that Qantas has been managed well during and post pandemic?

  • In Utero


    Goyder is full of it. The public should have taken a stake and been given the opportunity to recoup their money. That these idiots have been able yo reward themselves so handsomely on the back of the taxpayer while the company is still losing billions is a disgrace and blatantly corrupt.

    You have got aircraft taking off grossly overweight and all manner of maintenance midadventure. Well, AJ, these are the responsibilities of the Captain, and if you want thr big bucks, you have to take the respinsibility for all that goes wrong.

    These people are clearly in denial and deep into delusion, they have lost all contact with societal norms and expectations, and are consumed bu hubris and plain old fashioned greed.

  • John


    Maybe so but the company’s culture has been trashed and that is inexcusable. For that reason alone, the CEO must go and be replaced by someone who know the upside of ‘management by walking around’. The board needs a shake-up for not preventing it so perhaps some airline experienced people can be brought in – even a couple of employee representatives, for heaven’s sake.

  • Brett Dowsing


    What a joke! It is understandable for Goyder to leap to Joyce’s defence but these guys are impervious to the reality that their customers have suffered in this start up. Of course the negatives are out in front of the media but I’m willing to bet that they far outway the so-called “positives.” The planning by the Executive team and the Board has been non-existent of totally ineffective – a failure anyway.
    The greed and gouging by Qantas is highly visible – price increases, wage increases for the Upper Echelon, the outsourcing of all ground services. You can’t just sack swaths of staff when the going gets tough and expect them just to front up when you need them – loyalty should go down as well as it is expected up. We, the customers, are now paying a premium for services that just aren’t being provided to the level they should be. Goyder and Joyce are probably working hard, but I come back to the main point – they are increasing their payrises (which are already well above what is reasonable) and the outcomes of their efforts are not reflective of reality.
    Talk to your staff, and talk to your customers.

  • Shiva


    Type comments from his Chairman buddy as both are in the same boat .i.e. you scratch my back I scratch yours . He should have been sacked my years ago . You need brains how to make the airline profitable. Any idiots can take the short cut and sack the staffs.
    Like James Strong said you should not be a the same position after 5 years . Alan Joyce is a Qantas bed bug

  • Rod Woolley


    Then perhaps Mr Goyder and Board should shoulder some of the blame for their lack of foresight and good guidance.

  • Peter


    The main reason for poor operational performance worldwide is still related to Covid. Covid is still out there and infecting many people. But most of the impact comes from self-isolating policies applying to people who have come in contact with an infected person. This massive numbers of people are not presenting themselves for work each day and almost impossible to plan around this. And it is applicable not only to airline employees. The impact extends from other associated areas like airport security and specialist services outsourcing companies like ground handling and with some airlines – engineering.
    There is a lot of Qantas bashing going on at the moment – and most of it is unfounded – and because the TWU and engineers unions have been given a media platform to damage the Qantas brand anyway they can. And there is a lot of uninformed comment by those who want to get on the bandwagon to grandstand. Most are talking out of their hat. Some have grudges.

  • Colin Coyne


    Qantas bumped me off a flight from Sydney to Brisbane. It was not overly busy, their checkin booths were off line so had to go to checkin line, there for about 5 minutes, told roving QF staff member I was due to fly out in 30mins. He informed me I was 1 (one) minute late so flight was closed off. Their fault, with checkin booth being off line, then standing in line for 5 minutes, so I WAS there. Got on a VA flight 1 hour later. QF is OFF my travel list, utilise VA & Rex now. I hope the CEO enjoys his first class travel, fine dining and his exorbitant salary.

  • Gordon Mackinlay


    It was not managed well pre-pandemic! MACKINLAY

  • JayMac Aviation


    My finger traces tears down my face whilst looking at Joyce’s chauffeur waiting next to his Bentley for hours outide 10 Bourke Rd.

  • Alex


    My Joyce could always help to restore the company profits by reducing his take home pay if he is so concerned. For a start, a take home pay of $55,000 seems reasonable given his performance. Invest the rest back into the airline customer service.

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