Outlook dire says Qantas boss but remains positive on future

CELEBRATING 50 years of Qantas flying across the Pacific, chief executive Alan Joyce said that, even with the recent plunge in demand, the carrier would continue to serve the route for the long term.

“We are there to stay, we are not going to go anywhere,” he said. “We’re the only ones that have longevity on that route.”

Joyce added that the trans-Pacific route, which has already seen Northwest and Continental pull out from serving it, was “very competitive” at the moment and would likely remain so for the immediate future. “We’re getting the lowest air fares I think we have ever seen,” he said but stressed that “Qantas will [remain] there.”

When asked about whether he saw any hopes of recovery for the aviation industry he said the current economic environment is the “biggest global economic downturn since the Great Depression” adding that the short-term outlook for aviation is “dire”. However, remained optimistic that the group has the “longevity, scale and strength” to survive.

“There are a few sparrows there, but whether they make a spring or a summer is still for the jury. Certainly there is less of a decline in the freight market. We’ve seen some strength in the freight market out of China and the US, so there are some signs and freight is usually the early indicator.

“But there is so much volatility. I keep saying, we can get five economists in and five forecasters and get six or seven different opinions about what is going to happen. I think it’s too early to say if the green shoots [of recovery] are here to stay.”

For the full story, see the next issue of Air Cargo News, dated 21 August.

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