Michael Pascoe writes:

While still wearing red ink from its
trouble with Jetstar Asia’s experiment, Qantas is looking for more problems by
buying a minority stake in an Indonesian airline.

Scott Rochfort – winner of last year’s
Aviation Press Club top gong – reports Qantas wants 30% of
Jakarta-based AdamAir.

A criticism of Qantas management is that
none of the top brass have any length of service on the ground overseas – a
contributing factor towards the international operation failing to meet its
cost of capital and having to rely disproportionately on exploiting the
trans-Pacific route.

As any number of old Asia hands will tell you, over
the fifth or tenth G&T, there is no substitute for in-country experience.
Big white chiefs flying in and out doing deals don’t ever quite get it. The
world looks different from Mascot.

Taking a minority stake in any business is
a risky option. When the business is as risky as a low cost
carrier…well, you might think Qantas would like to have Jetstar Asia
before putting money into something they can’t control.

It’s great to see major Australian
companies looking outward, but it would be even better to see them implement
management plans that bring relevant international experience to the top.