I don’t even want to consider the complete debacle that was “Red Q” (should have been “Far Q”) that wound up being “Dead Q” before it even got to the serious development stage. What were the board thinking when they made all that info public before they’d even secured a foreign partner?
OK Qantas, you want a level playing field? Sure, we can arrange that! How about we complete the separation of your various components so that Qantas Holdings owns the separate entities Jetstar, Qantas International and Qantas domestic (including QantasLink). Any other groups can be kept as separate units or spun off entirely, the Frequent Flyer Program (the biggest profit maker for the past two years) being one such unit.
Now Qantas Domestic can be 100% foreign owned, just like TigerAir and a big chunk of Virgin Australia.
Now the Australian government can come in and prop up “Qantas” and ensure that only the national icon “Red Tail” gets the support. After all, that’s what all the nationalism and concern is about, right? Not Jetstar, just the Flying Kangaroo operations. The government could invest only in the International arm or just the Domestic arm, or even both!
Meanwhile, Qantas Holdings is a shell that gives top level direction & takes a cut of the profit.
Meanwhile, Jetstar can go & stand on its own two feet and can get funded from their own operations and/or capital fund raising, separately to our “national icon.”
There’d be no chance that foreign money and/or government money (read: our taxes) would be used to prop up Jetstar or bail out the pathetic strategic decision making of the current board & executive team at Qantas who have done more to drive our great icon into the ground than petrol prices, global pandemics, wars & terrorism.
Voila: level playing field with Qantas in the same boat as Virgin for ownership and Jetstar properly separated as it should have been from the start.
The hardest bit will be figuring out how to apportion shares to those poor schmoes still holding Qantas script. Maybe each share holder retains a cut of Qantas Holdings? Maybe they get a 1/4 share in JQ, QF Domestic, QF International & Qantas Holdings for each 1 share they currently have? I’m sure that’ll be a problem for those who try to figure out the details of the “leveled playing field” no matter what happens.It is sad that it has come to this but the writing has been on the wall for years now. The current woes of Qantas are thanks to over 10 years of poor management, union power mongering, a confrontational approach to employee relations, poor aircraft selection, propping up Jetstar and the board working hard to gut Qantas so they can make a buck. Remember the leveraged buyout concept just before the Global Financial Crisis? The only winners if that had gone ahead would have been the board & senior executives.
The worst bit about all this is that most of the media and politicians don’t seem to have the guts to stand up and state that if Qantas had been run properly from Dixon’s time onwards, most of this could have been avoided. They’re going to run around pointing fingers without hitting hard enough, come up with patches and appear to have solutions but not take the big step required to provide a true “level playing field.”
If we have to bail out Qantas, I want to be sure that we’re not helping to cover up Joyce & the board’s mistakes. I don’t want us to be thinking we’re saving an icon but, instead, we wind up boosting Jetstar as the Qantas brand is left to collapse with nothing.
How long before our joking comment of “Qantas, a member of the Jetstar group” becomes a reality? Given our current government & lack of real analysis in the media, all too soon I’m afraid :(