Never mind expanding the freight business,
Qantas was saved from an even sharper profit plunge by its ability to make
money out of Airbus running late on delivering the A380.

Ravaged by an $1.1 billion jump in its fuel
bill (partly offset by $282 million in hedging profit), the Roo’s net profit
was down 30% to $480 million. But that was after picking up $104
million in liquidated damages from Airbus. If the French knew how to build a
plane on time, the Qantas net profit would have been down about 40%.
(If only they had ordered more than 12 A380s… wonder if they could get the
same sort of deal if they put their name down for some of those joint strike fighters…)

The commentary from CEO Dixon was more of the same – more cost cutting,
more fuel bill increases, more jobs to go, more rationalisation, AWAs where
they’ll help etc. The management and support staff class will be feeling
particularly nervous with 1,000 of them scheduled to disappear. Qantas’s total
workforce is about 38,000.

As always when such big management
cleanouts are announced, one is left wondering if those 1,000 had been doing
anything of value. If not, Dixon and top management should surrender all their previous bonuses. If
they had been adding value though, one is left wondering how their jobs will be
without them, or what will go missing from Qantas when they depart.

There’s still no hint of dealing with
Qantas’s biggest percentage cost disadvantage compared with its main competitors
– the pay packets of the CEO, CFO and a few other top executives.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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