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This is why the image of Australian airlines is tarnished

For decades, Australian airline Qantas has maintained an impeccable image. In the classic film Rain Man, autistic Raymond Babbitt once refused to board any other plane. It can only be Qantas. Then: “Qantas has never crashed.The famous words spoken by Dustin Hoffman in his role at that time burned themselves into the minds of air travelers around the world.

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But in 2022, at least in our own country, this flawless image will no longer exist. Recently announced “Australian Financial ReviewFor example, an Australian manager posted a LinkedIn post in which he explained very matter-of-factly and convincingly why he would never fly with Qantas again. About 700 of those comments mostly agreed with him.

Travel chaos and angry customers

While Qantas continues to have an impeccable safety record, complaints add up in all other areas: canceled and delayed flights, understaffing, long waits, lost luggage and IT problems. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce recently apologized to customers for the confusion over the past few months Video, which was emailed to them. “We know the return to flying has not been smooth sailing,” he admitted and vowed to get better.

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But the gesture of reconciliation – Qantas distributed vouchers worth 50 Australian dollars (nearly 35 euros) to its regular customers in August – was in vain. Because when they wanted to restore their credit, neither the Qantas app nor the company’s website worked at first.

Billions were lost during the pandemic

Qantas has admittedly had a tougher time than many airlines over the past two years due to Australia’s closed external borders and severe lockdowns in the country. The latter is reflected in higher losses, which Joyce estimates are more than 7 billion Australian dollars, or the equivalent of 4.8 billion euros since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, the company lost more than $25 billion in revenue. “Considering that, Covid has cost us more money in the last three years than we have in the last five years,” he told media representatives recently.

A Qantas flight on its way to the runway.

However, the recovery packages received by the airline were not mentioned. For example, the former Australian government paid the company $2 billion (€1.38 billion) during closed borders: “The government did not ask for equity in return for its generosity, and Qantas management did not give anything. “Warranties – not in terms of works, routes, services or quality,” wrote a commenter in the Australian edition.Guardians“In August.

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Love withdrawal has been pointed out for years

However, instead of using the money to save jobs, unionized floor workers were laid off, cleverly taking advantage of the opportunity when workers could not physically work and negotiate. As a result, 2,000 baggage handlers, cleaners, aircraft tow tractors and other ground staff lost their jobs. Instead, according to the Guardian, Qantas used the money to “destroy” the competition. The company has transformed its airline fleet, bought a potential competitor, undercut another and aggressively lobbied the government to end bailouts for rival Virgin.

In a country that prides itself on its “Fair Go” policy, these practices are not well received. But Australians’ love back started before the pandemic’s tough years. It can be traced back to at least 2008, if not the early 1990s when the airline was privatized. Irishman Alan Joyce took the helm in 2008 after a truly dark year for the airline. Over the months, negative reports piled up: technical problems, emergency landings, delays, strikes and finally even a condemnation from Gaza, the Australian aviation safety authority, tarnished the plane’s image.

Will the airline be nationalized again?

Joyce quickly became a household name in Australia. A particularly extreme example from 2011 has stuck in the minds of many. To settle the union dispute, the manager shut down the entire airline overnight: the grounding lasted nearly two days, and 70,000 passengers were stranded around the world. Even during the pandemic, Joyce grounded all international flights, making it very difficult for many Australian citizens to return home from overseas.

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Meanwhile, discontent is high as demands to re-nationalise the airline grow. Politicians in the past, particularly from the Green Party, have repeatedly advocated bringing Qantas back into the government’s fold. They cite the country’s geographic location as one of the main reasons: “I don’t want us to become an island state without a full air service,” Green politician Adam Band once said. Media interview.