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A JetStar A321 in Sydney (Photo: AirlineGeeks

Qantas Appoints New Jetstar CEO

The Qantas Group appointed a new Chief Executive Officer for its budget subsidiary Jetstar, having made the announcement on Sept. 26. Selected to replace Jetstar’s current CEO, Garreth Evans, will be Stephanie Tully — the airline’s current Group Executive and Chief Customer Officer. The transition is expected to take place over the next month, with the formal handover aimed for November. The news follows an earlier announcement that Evans would be leaving the role by year’s end.

Executive Manager of Network, Revenue Management and Alliances, Markus Svensen, will fill the void left by Tully. Svensen — who is currently responsible for overseeing much of Qantas’ international and domestic commercial strategy — will also become a member of the Group Executive Committee, which reports to Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

In a statement, Joyce said that “these appointments come at an important time for us (Qantas Group). The team is working incredibly hard to overcome challenges facing the whole industry as it gets back on its feet, and the data shows we’re almost there,” adding that “managing this kind of executive renewal internally means we keep our momentum and can leverage a huge amount of corporate knowledge, including through the transition.”

Airline Faces Backlash

The announced changes to Qantas Group’s executive arrangement are the latest moves from the airline giant, still facing domestic backlash over its perceived customer service shortcomings. Last week, Qantas found itself the recipient of more anger as it was announced that it would be limiting vegetarian in-flight meal options, stating that “if the option on a particular flight is not suitable for vegetarians, we try to offer an alternative of a small sweet or savory snack which is vegetarian.”

In line with its recent pattern, the airline assigned blame to issues surrounding COVID, adding, “We had to make a lot of alterations to our service during COVID and we’re still in the process of bringing things back and updating others.”

Amid the pressure from customer and media scrutiny, including allegations that Qantas’ internal culture is “a ruthless regime of cost-cutting and out-sourcing”, the airline has been proactive in promoting the improvement of its on-time flight and cancellation percentages. Despite a drop in cancellations from 7.5% in June to 4.7% in August, it is still far behind its growing competitor Regional Express, having itself canceled only 0.8 percent in August.

Growing Opportunities for Australian Competition

The negative perception of Australia’s largest airline means, as a byproduct, a possible benefit for Australian airline competition. With Rex’s recent growth, continuing to expand its Boeing 737 fleet, and new Australian addition Bonza expanding its footprint, dissatisfied Qantas passengers will have additional options in both routes and price competition.

In June’s Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report on airline competition, despite the sheer weight of Qantas, “Canada’s experience suggests that Australia’s domestic market may be large enough to support more competition than the traditional duopoly of the Qantas Group and Virgin, such as that offered by Rex and Bonza.”

Author

  • Mike Mangano

    Mike’s love affair with flight and mechanical objects in the sky began at an early age, fascinated by space documentaries and forever inspired by his first experiences with Flight Simulator ’95. He currently works as a UAV flight instructor and is training to receive his Private Pilot Licence with the goal of working in manned flight instruction. An avid reader of all things aviation and manned space flight, Mike stays close to developments in aerospace while reminiscing and sharing the rich history of flight with others. He loves writing, engineering and science. https://twitter.com/MikeMangano9

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