Huge Changes Coming For Qantas Customers According To New CEO

Qantas have had a tumultuous few years, at least in regards to their public image. A massive post-COVID boom combined with the controversies surrounding — and eventual replacement of — former CEO Alan Joyce, bred mixed feelings about the brand. However, a statement from new CEO Vanessa Hudson could be set to turn that right around…

Her announcements came on the same day that Australia’s largest airline reported a 13% drop in first-half profits. The decline announced in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Thursday, saw post-tax profits fall to A$869 million for the six months to December 31st, down from an even A$1 billion the period.

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Despite the decline, Qantas did not declare a dividend for the half but announced a share buyback of up to A$400 million, adding to the A$452 million already bought back since August last year. The airline also predicts an increase in capital expenditure of up to A$3.9 billion in the 2024-25 financial year. This all follows a record A$2.47 billion profit in the 2022-23 financial year.

Hudson, who took over from Alan Joyce in September 2023, was keen to emphasise the company’s commitment to improving service levels and addressing customer feedback, pointing out that airfares have dropped by more than 10% since their 2022 peak and acknowledged the need for more affordable air travel.

What’s Changing For Qantas Customers

In a separate written statement shared directly with customers, Hudson dropped some long-anticipated updates about what customers can expect from Qantas’ flights. The most exciting of which, we think, is the introduction of WiFi on international flights. Here’s her statement in full:

“Over the past few months, everyone at the Qantas Group has been working hard to improve your journeys with us. We know our people are our biggest asset and we’re giving them more tools to serve you better.

If you’ve flown lately, hopefully you’ve noticed that our on-time performance is up and cancellations are down. We’re listening to your feedback and we have new investments rolling out. Here are some examples:

  • New fleet – introducing the Airbus A220 aircraft from March 2024. The A220s have more comfortable cabins, are much quieter and have twice the range of the 717s they replace.
  • Wi-Fi onboard – switching on international Wi-Fi from the end of 2024, coinciding with new satellites that will deliver similar connection speeds to our domestic flights. The rollout starts with our A330s followed by the 787s and A380s.
  • Easier to deal with – a new Qantas App gives you more control over your trip, including baggage tracking. Better training for our call centre agents is helping solve issues faster.
  • Better value – average fares have dropped more than 10 percent since peaking in December 2022 and we’ll shortly announce a major investment to improve our Frequent Flyer program. Until 27 February 2024 we have a Double Points/Status Credits offer when you book a flight.
  • Better recovery – we’ve increased what we provide when there are significant delays. This includes giving our people better tools to fix problems on the spot to support the amazing job they do every day.

On behalf of everyone at the Qantas Group, my sincere thanks for your support as we work to restore trust and pride in the national carrier. Please stay tuned for more improvements.”

Vanessa Hudson, Qantas CEO

Are these updates enough to win you back around to Australia’s most iconic brand? Or do you still have your doubts from the Joycean era? Let us know.

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