The two great contenders in Australian airline competition in the early years of this century, Geoff Dixon and Brett Godfrey have a new tourism investment venture the Australian Walking Company.
Dixon as Qantas group CEO gave his side of the contest its highest ever share price and took it for the first time to more than $1 billion ($1.4 billion to be precise) in pretax profits in a year in 2008.
Godfrey made the highest profit margins yet by a domestic mainline jet airline in Australia with the much smaller Virgin Blue operation in the mid naughties before it launched the V Australia long haul brand with Boeing 777s.
Their joint announcement today of AWC also includes its first investment; the purchase of the Victoria’s much celebrated Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk.
This four day three night guided walk will be operated by the Launceston headquartered Tasmanian Walking Company which was purchased by Tasmanian tourism investors Brett Godfrey and Rob Sherrard in 2013. Godfrey worked for Sherrard in the National Jet air freight venture in Australia in the 1980s, while Sherrard played a major role in Virgin Blue in its early years after Godfrey convinced Richard Branson in 1999 to set up the challenger airline which began flying in 2000.
Brett Godfrey has been a director of the highly successful Canadian airline WestJet since 2006. Geoff Dixon, who stepped down from his role as Chairman of Tourism Australia last month, has investments in the hospitality sector. He is Chairman of the Australian Pub Fund which owns and operates twelve hotels across Sydney and Brisbane, and operates three family owned hotels.
They are joined in the ownership of AWC by Scott Malcolm the Chairman of the Sydney based corporate advisory firm, Greenstone Partners, which he founded in 2003. Prior to Greenstone Partners, Scott was a Director in Credit Suisse’s investment banking department in Sydney.
Owning, managing and investing in tourism activities that conserve the environment, create hospitality jobs, and induct visitors into what are among the finest outdoor walks in the world, let alone Australia, is … so far away from the trench warfare of airline competition.
On most of those walks you won’t even see a contrail, or hear a jet aircraft. That’s something special.