Congratulations to Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon and chairperson Margaret
Jackson for convincing Canberra that Singapore Airlines intends to slay
all Australian male babies and infest the bush with feral durian if
it’s allowed to fly the Sydney-LA route. But don’t forget that Virgin
Blue Chairman Chris Corrigan also deserves some credit.

it was Corrigan’s idea that SIA would buy up all the unit blocks around
Kirribilli House for use as staff accommodation. There goes the
neighbourhood, Janet. One must presume it was arguments along those
lines that swung the government as the official protectionism pitch
would barely fool John Anderson.

Quite simply, Qantas is
reasonably and rationally determined to run itself as efficiently as
possible. It has to – anything less will mean disaster. If Qantas sees
an opportunity to save a bag of money by outsourcing more jobs without
damaging its Australian image, it should and will do so, and SIA has
nothing to do with it.

Chris Corrigan’s interest in keeping
Singapore out is less well understood than Qantas’s. I was given an
inkling a year ago that Virgin Blue/Patrick had quietly sided with
Qantas – and not just because of the Pacific route. The fear was that
Sydney-LA might provide the anchor SIA needed to enter the
Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne domestic trunk route as well. And that would
really hurt QF and VB.

Corrigan was characteristically coy when
I raised anti-SIA lobbying with him in an interview last November on
Channel 7’s now defunct Sunday Sunrise:

PASCOE: Have you expressed any interest to the government about allowing Singapore Airlines to fly the Pacific route?

CORRIGAN: We have expressed an interest, as one of our
investments, in flying that route and we have enquired about what their
intentions were in relation to Singapore; that is what we have done,

PASCOE: So neither Patrick nor Virgin Blue has expressed an opinion to
the government that you prefer not to see Singapore flying that Pacific

CORRIGAN: No. We have enquired as to the likelihood of that occurring.
And obviously if we were to fly that route we would prefer less
competition than more, and that is pretty self-evident. But I wouldn’t
describe it as lobbying, no.

No? Virgin Blue has more recently broken cover on its SIA views. Corrigan, Dixon and Jackson make a powerful lobbying troika.

PS: Crikey colleague Glenn Dyer yesterday questioned
Qantas’s succession planning. According to Dixon, there’s no problem at
all – CFO Peter Gregg is the man to take over from him.