How does Alan Joyce get away with it? After running Qantas into the ground, the CEO should be answering fundamental questions about his management. But he continues to act with impunity.
Can Qantas trash its reputation any faster than it has been in recent months? Having spent most of the pandemic clamoring to be allowed to begin operating again, Alan Joyce’s airline returned to the skies unable to provide the most basic services consistently — on-time flights (or simply flights that aren’t canceled), efficient processing of Passengers, peak-demand management, customer service, baggage arriving at the same destination (or not disappearing into some void from which nothing ever returns).
Throughout this period, Joyce and his team have blamed everyone else. First it was passengers who were not “match fit”. Then it was airports that were to blame for not having enough staff. Then it was the labor market and shortages of workers — after Qantas had illegally sacked thousands of baggage handlers during the pandemic. Joyce, it seems, always has an excuse for why a once-great airline is now regarded as a social media joke and barely worthy of the description “full service”.
The abiding theme of Joyce’s management of the decline of Qantas is his passionate loathing of his workforce. This is the man who shut the entire airline down in 2011 rather than deal with engineers, pilots and transport workers and their unions, who used the pandemic to sack 6000 workers, on top of another 7000 workers also sacked under Joyce. The loss of Qantas staff has tracked its decline from a respected airline to the butt of jokes.