What Jetstar Group CEO Bruce Buchanan said at the bottom of an interview in the Herald-Sun today is what is top of mind for the travel industry, and no doubt for those who keep asking if owner Qantas might one day spin it ( or itself) off from the Qantas/Jetstar entity.

In that part of the story, quoted below, Buchanan raises by implication the issue of Jetstar seeking membership of the Oneworld  in its own right, rather than relying for connecting traffic from the other members of the global marketing alliance through codeshares on flights by Qantas, which is a foundation member.

He believes some Qantas long-haul pilot salaries are “exorbitant’ by international standards and said he would not tolerate any pay deal which would see Jetstar pilots paid the highest Qantas wages.

“If they try to impose those sorts of conditions, the dire consequences this will actually cause . . . we won’t put the Qantas code share on our flights if that actually was to get up,” Buchanan said.

“We’re happy to get rid of it, no skin off our nose.”

Buchanan said Jetstar only had a small proportional revenue on code-share connections to Qantas long-haul flights.

“We’d take the Qantas code off and you know what that will do?” he said.

“It’s going to put you (pilots) in a worse situation, because they won’t have the passenger traffic to continue to justify flying as many aircraft. So you’ll wind up in this ridiculous situation where you cause your own demise even faster.”

To qualify as a member of Oneworld on its own Jetstar would have to pass an IATA Operational Safety Audit or IOSA, and enter into a set of co-operative obligations to the alliance,  as well as pay substantial fees.

It is much less onerous to piggyback on Qantas to pick up the benefits of referred traffic from other Oneworld members, so Buchanan’s references to dropping Qantas code on its own flights is intriguing, as the Jetstar franchise takes its orders from the management and board of Qantas as a whole.

A spokesperson for Jetstar this morning also denied categorically persistent rumors that Jetstar had failed an IOSA.

Asked if Jetstar had already started the process of joining Oneworld as a distinct brand to Qantas, and which would require the passing of such an audit,  the spokesperson said it was not its policy to “discuss commercial matters such as this“, which sounds like a “Yes”.

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