Jetstar. The future of Qantas? Commons photo

Perspective The Qantas commitment to a Jetstar model which is failing to attract adequate customer support or loyalty is causing anxiety in both labour and investor ranks in the rundown to next Thursday’s Qantas Group FY2014 announcements.

Some of this has spilled over into the general media, including this report in the Herald Sun, which may or may not have correctly concluded that a larger scale transfer of Qantas operations to the international, regional and domestic Australian Jetstars is imminent or inevitable.

Those fears may also be intensified by an internal communication between Qantas and its international cabin crew which could be interpreted as foreshadowing route closures, or frequency reductions, and consequent job losses.

However the deeper concern about the Qantas infatuation with Jetstar is that it deluding itself if it thinks its full service customers will transfer their loyalties to Jetstar.

There is nothing about the Jetstar experience that will engender loyalty from Qantas customers, since it is a cheap price driven product offering, and itself prone to being too expensive if compared to Scoot or AirAsiaX or within Australia, the less available and even less reliable Virgin Australia controlled Tigerair low cost carrier.

No wonder, perhaps, that Qantas isn’t rushing into selling part of the Qantas loyalty scheme, since it is supposed to be about Qantas rewards, not something offered by a partner brand to whom the loyalty of Qantas customers cannot be taken for granted.

Didn’t Qantas learn anything from the Emirates partnership, which the sovereign owned Middle East carrier says has been very good for it, but which also benefited carriers like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways, to the extent that some dislocated Qantas customers had no intention of following the directions of an Australian flag carrier that presumed to give away their previous loyalty to its choice of foreign carriers?

This coming Thursday will be the sixth Qantas full year financial results to be delivered under the current management of group CEO Alan Joyce and chair Leigh Clifford.

It has been six years of unmitigated decline for the group, during which it has lost market share, investor value, unsecured debt ratings and irreplaceable experience in piloting and engineering resources without for a moment leaving unrecognized the benefits of technological advancements that have reduced the need for in house as well as external maintenance.

Underlying the concerns that are apparent in Qantas ranks is the erratic strategic course pursued by the group since 2008, including the underperforming investments in offshore Jetstar franchises, and the nonsensical antics that accompanied the so called Red Q offshore single aisle low cost base full service Asia carrier in which Qantas was to have exercised control over a part owned operation based in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, China or anywhere.

Whatever else happens, Qantas has prepared the scene for one of the worst performances that will be delivered, next Thursday, during the current financial results reporting season by a prominent Australian company.

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