They are un-Australian: Furious Qantas boss Alan Joyce launches a stinging attack on Sydney Airport for favouring overseas airlines over the Flying Kangaroo as desperate carries try to recover from the coronavirus
- Qantas boss Alan Joyce said Sydney Airport was favouring international airlines
- Flying Kangaroo holds 50 per cent of slots and Virgin 25 per cent
- Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert accused Qantas of ‘hoarding’ the slots
- He explained to the ACCC that the slots could be given to overseas airlines
- Mr Joyce hit back saying Qantas was not hoarding slots due to no flights
Qantas boss Alan Joyce has launched a scathing attack at Sydney airport claiming they prefer overseas airlines to the flying kangaroo.
The airline currently holds about 50 per cent of slots at Kingsford Smith Airport and Virgin Australia 25 per cent despite no international flights since March 20.
Slots are given to airlines with time frames of when flights can take off and land.
The airport wrote to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) this week complaining that Qantas was ‘hoarding’ slots.
Sydney Airport argued it would impact the aviation industry’s recovery and that the slots could be given to international operators to aide in the travel industry.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce has launched a scathing attack at Sydney airport claiming they prefer overseas airlines to the flying kangaroo (Pictured during a results announcement in Sydney, Thursday, August 20, 2020)
Qantas aircraft on the tarmac at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport on November 16, 2020 in Sydney, Australia
Mr Joyce slammed the claim and accused Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert of ‘exploiting the current paralysis for little benefit’.
‘Your characterisation of Qantas’ desire to retain its pre-COVID slots pursuant to a ministerial direction as anti-competitive slot hoarding is both spurious and misleading,’ Mr Joyce wrote, The Australian reported.
Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert (pictured) has been accused of favouring overseas airlines to the flying kangaroo
‘Far from being constructive, these comments represent a blatant attempt by Sydney Airport to prioritise foreign airlines who offer you more lucrative revenue at the expense of Australian airlines, the domestic network and critical regional connectivity.’
He explained that Qantas could not be ‘hoarding’ slots as international flights were suspended and no other airlines were flying into the country.
Mr Joyce said international travel would be negligible and that domestic flights will recover much sooner thanks to the reopening of state boarders.
He called for more slots to meet the increase in demand for domestic flights.
Mr Joyce said he was disappointed in Mr Culbert for not sharing ‘Qantas’ ambition’.
‘I am very disappointed that you consider it appropriate to adopt this posture at this time,’ he said.
A Sydney Airport spokesperson disputed the claims that international flights were being favoured saying they also want flights to return back to normal.
The ACCC will address the issues in its quarterly monitoring of the aviation industry.
Passengers check in for the first Qantas flight between Sydney and Adelaide since COVID-19 border restrictions were lifted, Sydney Domestic Airport, Sydney, Thursday, September 24
Qantas earlier this year let go 6,000 of its staff due to not international or domestic flights.
‘Many of the 6,000 job losses are people who have spent decades here. It’s not unusual to have several members of one family working at Qantas and Jetstar,’ Mr Joyce said at the time.
‘With international travel non-existent and domestic travel severely restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the aviation industry has been under pressure in the past three months.
‘What makes this even harder is that right before this crisis hit, we were actively recruiting.
‘Aviation is used to sudden shocks… But we’ve never experienced anything like this before. No one has.’
Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah stepped down from his role on October 15, after the airline reported $349million in losses during a turbulent year.
Mr Scurrah will remain in office until November when the airline is taken over by US private equity firm Bain Capital, with former Jetstar boss Jayne Hrdlicka set to then fill his position.
‘I have continued to be so proud of the way my team and our entire organisation has fought to save this airline and to keep competition alive and well in Australia,’ Mr Scurrah said in a statement on October 15.
‘We have succeeded in not just ensuring the future of the company, but also reset the business to ensure it is well placed to deliver for Bain Capital for many years to come.’