CEO Alan Joyce says demand has rebounded strongly in the wake of an industrial action campaign and a temporary fleet grounding that damaged the carrier’s public image.
Domestic bookings, including corporate accounts, “have recovered particularly well and are now back to normal levels,” equal to those achieved before the labor strife began, Joyce tells investors. International bookings, meanwhile, have been recovering more slowly for the period through January. But beyond January, forward bookings appear in line with demand levels before the industrial action started.
Following months of targeted strikes, Qantas decided to bring disputes with unions to a head by announcing a lockout and fleet grounding on Oct. 29. This move prompted the country’s major labor panel to halt all industrial action and launch binding arbitration to settle contract talks with three major unions.
Joyce tells investors he is confident that the outcome of arbitration by Fair Work Australia “will be reasonable and will exclude the extreme claims that would have threatened our capacity to make the necessary transformation of our business.”
Separately, Joyce reaffirmed Qantas’s plan to launch a premium carrier in Southeast Asia. While talks to set up the airline are continuing, it would be “premature to make any announcements at this stage,” Joyce says. Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are the two main options being considered for the new carrier’s base.