Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has rejected claims that he is dropping plans to start a full-service carrier in Asia to instead form a deeper union with Malaysia Airlines. Joyce insists that Qantas management is still negotiating with Malaysia and Singapore to create an airline that will serve the region’s business market.
He claims that a new premium carrier in the Asian market is still a key part in the company’s strategy, which also involves the launching of Jetstar – Japan’s budget carrier – and other business ventures in the region. Joyce stressed the importance of establishing a new premium airline in Asia, adding that the timing of the carrier and the way it collaborates with partners are still being discussed with Malaysia and Singapore. He also said that no final decision had yet been made on the next steps, refusing to comment on the outcome of last week’s meetings with government officials and regulators.
Neil Hansford, chairman of Strategic Aviation Solutions, doubts whether Qantas will actually carry on with the project. Hansford, a long-timer in the industry, argues that the Asian market already has various strong carriers, such as Singapore Airlines, which makes it tricky for Qantas to enter the game and win market share. He explains that any deal to strengthen its union with Malaysia Airlines present less of a risk, calling this method far more “predictable”.