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Qantas CEO Joyce hails service 5 months after apology

written by Adam Thorn | February 3, 2023

Australian Aviation photographer Victor Pody captured VH-OQJ arriving in Melbourne after being ferried from Sydney, ahead of flight QF93 to LAX.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has declared his airline is “back to its best” five months after issuing a public apology for its poor performance.

In a rare opinion piece, which Australian Aviation is published here, Joyce also reveals the Flying Kangaroo is almost back to 100 per cent of pre-pandemic domestic capacity.

In 2022, Qantas 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.

The year prior, the Federal Court ruled the Flying Kangaroo was wrong to outsource 2,000 ground handling roles.

“Six months ago, a lot of people felt we’d let them down and the figures showed why,” writes Joyce. “Almost half our flights were late, our rate of misplaced bags had more than doubled, and we were cancelling up to 7 per cent of our schedule.


“Last August, we apologised and promised to fix it. And almost every week after that, things improved.

“It’s a huge credit to our people that the data now shows Qantas is back to its best. We’ve been the most on-time of the major domestic airlines for five months in a row.

“Our service levels — bags, cancellations, catering and the call centre – are back to what customers expect from us. And we’re working to make it better.”

Joyce also used the article to blame higher fares on holding capacity in reserve to mitigate those delays, but said prices are likely to go down this year.

“We have more aircraft and crew on standby to step-in to deal with the supply chain and sick leave issues that remain. Less supply and lots of demand meant fares went up.

“Higher fares also reflect inflation in general and higher fuel prices in particular, which are up 65 per cent in the past six months compared with pre-COVID. Naturally, that flows through to how much you pay for a flight.

“There’s not much we can do about the cost of things like fuel but the fact our operations have stabilised means we can steadily put capacity back in.

“Domestically, we’re almost back to 100 per cent of pre-COVID flying levels. Internationally, we’ll be at around 80 per cent by the middle of the year, and we’ve recently seen most of our competitors announce a major ramp-up in their capacity, so you can expect to see fares trend down, keeping in mind we’re all paying more for most things at the moment.”

Australian Aviation reported in November how Qantas shifted from being the worst airline in the country for cancellations to being the best.

The Flying Kangaroo has continued to perform strongly since, despite sister carrier Jetstar now being the worst for both delays and cancellations in Australia.

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