Australia’s Qantas Airways has rejected reports that it dropped plans for an Asia-based airline, saying talks to set up the premium airline will continue.
The plan led to months of industrial action, as well as a drastic two-day grounding of the airline by its own management in October, which sent the dispute to the labor umpire.
Qantas’ new premium airline is seen as key to stemming losses at its international operations. But it’s raised fears of job losses in Australia.
CEO, Alan Joyce, says his focus remains on cutting costs and lifting productivity because of rising competitive pressures from regional carriers.
Qantas has held talks with Malaysian Airlines’ low-cost carrier, Air Asia, as well as Singapore over its plans for an Asian base.
Joyce says sending the dispute for arbitration had given certainty to passengers and led to a strong recovery in forward bookings. The airline says domestic bookings have since returned to normal, while international bookings are seen back at pre-industrial action levels next month.
Joyce adds that Qantas is confident the Fair Work outcome would be reasonable. And it would allow the airline to make the necessary adjustments to its international business.
Bottom line: Qantas Airways rejects reports that it dropped plans for an Asia-based airline, saying talks to set up the premium airline are continuing.