Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has launched a spirited defence of his management team’s performance, saying they’re doing a “great job in tough circumstances”.
Qantas said on Thursday it would shed at least 1000 jobs as it works to save $2 billion over the next three years, after announcing it expects to post a half-year loss of up to $300 million.
Qantas’ shares dropped 14.5 per cent to $1.06 as of 1235 AEDT following the announcement.
The news comes as Qantas continues to talk to the federal government about possible support for the airline.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Mr Joyce said he’d be taking at least a 38 per cent pay cut in 2013 due to the the airline’s poor performance.
But he defended the work of Qantas’ board and management.
“I believe the management of Qantas are doing a great job in tough circumstances,” Mr Joyce told Sky News.
“The Qantas board and management are operating in tough environments and I believe are continuing to do a good job in tough circumstances.”
He said there were a lot of airlines around the world that “would love to be reporting a profit nine of the last 10 years”.
He said Qantas had a strong domestic franchise, a strong Jetstar business and a strong frequent flyer business.
“The value that we’ve created in this company and the strategic position that we’ve put the company in has been great,” Mr Joyce added.
He said Qantas had made money in the domestic market in two out of the last three years.
But he said Qantas wasn’t operating on a level playing field because its main domestic competitor Virgin was funded by three state-owned enterprises.
“That’s created this unbalanced … playing field,” Mr Joyce said.
He said the airline was talking to the federal government about getting support, but refused to be drawn on what specific options were in play.
“I’m not going to give a running commentary,” he said.
Trading conditions for Qantas deteriorated markedly in November with a steeper decline in passenger loads and yields.
In August, Australia’s major airline swung to a $5 million full year profit, from a historic $245 million loss in the previous year.