It might seem odd to some airline industry watchers that Jetstar Japan needs a fourth cornerstone investor after Japan Airlines, Qantas and Mitsubishi.
After all, a well run low cost carrier in Japan, associated with three household name airline brands in Japan Airlines, Qantas and Jetstar looks like the dream team, now that everyone has forgotten the financial calamity that befell JAL.
Jetstar Japan couldn’t fail if it tried. Could it? All that it is up against is an AirAsia Japan venture in association with All Nippon Airways, and AirAsia is run by Tony Fernandes, the close buddy and friendly ally of Jetstar Asia, who has it encircled with friendly AirAsia entities in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Nothing to worry about at all. Tony now has 25% of Malaysia Airlines, which is according to Alan Joyce at Qantas going to be probably, most likely, perhaps, maybe, the key to the survival of the Qantas long haul operation by rolling to one side to make room for a Qantas controlled but Malaysia flag carrier entity that is going to take away a large part of their business and profits to prop up an ailing Aussie business, so, they are bound to be onside. The Qantas offer to siphon off the loot from their patch is a cinch to go ahead because, well, it is so good for the Malaysians. Who have been inexplicably silent about these initiatives in recent weeks.
Which brings us to this morning’s excellent dispatch in The Australian, saying that Geoffrey Edelsten (disgraced medical entrepreneur, deregistered doctor, former Sydney Swans owner and convicted criminal) is a possible white knight for coming to the assistance of ‘struggling’ Air Australia.
Who said Air Australia is struggling? It’s just a little misunderstanding according to Air Australia about insolvency cover being refused for its retailers and their customers by Cover More, which in Australia covers a lot. Except Air Australia. The story goes on to claim credit for this revelation of Air Australia’s insolvency insurance problems even though Plane Talking broke it much sooner than The Australian.
So, Geoffrey Edelsten, who says he never owned a pink helicopter, a ‘string’ of Ferraris, or much else in some of the revisionist interviews he has given since the flamboyant events of his career in the 80s and 90s, is considering a second approach by Air Australia to land on his money as an investor in its operations, currently solely owned by Michael James, according to Mr James.
The media needs stories like this in the so called ‘silly season’. Not that there is anything silly about Edelsten, or James or the perplexing situation confronting Air Australia customers, who are/were being asked by travel agency chain Flight Centre to sign a product disclosure statement acknowledgement that they are buying flights on the carrier while fully aware that it has been refused insolvency insurance. Hey, the airline you are about buy flights on can’t get covered against the risk that it could go broke! She’ll be right!
Someone needs to get bold here. Edelsten mightn’t bite at the Air Australia opportunity, but wait a minute, what about Jetstar Japan? If that isn’t gold plated what is?