The new premium oriented Airport of the Future, Qantas graphic
The new premium oriented Airport of the Future, Qantas graphic

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce gave to his answer to the Virgin Blue ‘airline of the future’ one brand strategy today.

He said Qantas would become a ‘new premium carrier’, a reference to Virgin Blue’s ‘new world carrier’ concept. And it would not, ever, Jetstar-ise itself. The dual brand strategy would continue, but with ‘evolved’ premium offerings from Qantas, and it had an Airport of the Future project to halve check-in times, and even a Baggage tag of the Future, reported in the item below this posting.

Alan 'no middle ground' Joyce, Qantas photo
Alan 'no middle ground' Joyce, Qantas photo

In his address to the National Aviation Press Club Joyce said among other things :

We certainly don’t take the view that one size airline can ever fit all. There’s no future for the middle of the road, the hybrid model is a lost world strategy.

I can assure you that the reports of ‘the death of premium travel’ have been greatly exaggerated.

Yes, demand for premium travel has been affected during the global downturn, and pretty seriously. But there is now, and will continue to be, an appetite for premium travel among both domestic and international travellers.

That does not mean, however, that premium travel will be business as usual, 1960s style. Modern premium travel is going through an important evolution. Or rather, we believe it should go through an evolution to maximise its position in a more sophisticated and segmented marketplace.

So far from joining the pessimists, we believe there is a big opportunity to invigorate premium flying for a new era. In fact, Qantas aims to be the first ‘next generation’ premium carrier, shaping the future for premium travel.

Joyce quoted the examples of Mercedes-Benz, Tiffany and Apple is this regard, and said he was a Macintosh fan, happy to pay a premium for its product.

In relation to the future of the two brand strategy rather than human resources, Joyce said:

At various times people have suggested Qantas was going to be Jetstar-ised. Well, No and Never.

Incremental change won’t be enough for the next generation premium airline. People, processes and technologies must all combine to deliver maximum punch, at minimum expense.

We see opportunities in everything from our information technology to processes to aircraft configuration to fuel conservation: from fleet simplification to supply chain management.

While the detail about the new premium carrier isn’t really visible it is pretty clear the multi-brand Qantas/Jetstar empire versus the Virgin Blue insurrection is going to entertain the ‘swinging’ frequent flyer for the foreseeable future.