The Joyce age at Qantas is under way.

There was no surprise in the appointment of Bruce Buchanan his loyal deputy attitude adjuster at Jetstar as his replacement as the low cost unit’s chief executive officer. Buchanan came to Jetstar when it launched in 2004 from five years in the Boston Consulting Group’s travel and tourism practice. Make no mistake, Buchanan is Jetstar’s rising star. But he takes over on 1 October, which means Joyce is even more effectively the Qantas chief executive officer from then than he has been in recent weeks, and not supposedly dividing his time between both Jetstar and Qantas until 28 November, which is still the official day on which he takes over from departing Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon.

While Buchanan’s appointment was well flagged, the recruiting of Lyell Strambi to the new position of executive general manager operations at Qantas wasn’t. Strambi’s role from 1 December includes engineering and pilots, and David Cox, the executive general manager engineering and Adrian Verkerk, group general manager engineering and maintenance will be reporting to him.

This looks very much like a new job to take on Qantas’ greatest weaknesses and clean up the declining standards identified by the CASA special audit of Qantas and referred to unfavorably in the Senate Inquiry into the administration of CASA.

Strambi has been chief operating officer of Virgin Atlantic for the past six years. He not only worked with both Dixon and Joyce in Ansett in earlier times, but knows a lot about Singapore Airlines, which has been the unhappy owner of 49% of the UK carrier for almost 8 years.

Strambi takes safety, pilots, engineering and maintenance off John Borghetti who remains executive general manager Qantas, with responsibilities which include that other area of popular concern, the Qantas customer experience.

The very hands on Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford has been working with Joyce on the new Qantas blueprint over the past weeks. These are only the first glimpses of major changes to come.

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