CEO: Qantas doing well


Qantas Airways Ltd chief executive Alan Joyce says the airline group is performing well in a difficult environment.

Mr Joyce said the airline group’s “diverse portfolio” provided “stability of earnings” compared to other airlines.

“We have the unique ability to be able to grow whichever brand is performing best at that particular time,” Mr Joyce told reporters in Adelaide on Monday.

The Qantas group comprises full-service carrier Qantas and low-cost offshoot Jetstar.

Mr Joyce was speaking at the launch of a $44 million, three-year partnership between Qantas and Tourism Australia to market Australia internationally as a tourist destination.

On Friday, Qantas said its full-year earnings guidance 2009/10 remained unchanged, with underlying profit before tax expected to come between $300 million and $400 million.

But local competitor Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd stunned the market when it sharply downgraded its earnings guidance for the second time in less than a month, blaming the “rapid deterioration and increased volatility” in international and domestic leisure market.

“This is consistent with the weakening trend seen recently in the broader retail market as well as an unexpected and sudden decline in consumer confidence in the last month,” Virgin Blue said on Friday.

Mr Joyce said Qantas was “very buoyant” about the low fares end of the market, “both in and out of Australia, but also into the Asian market”.

He also said there were encouraging signs emerging from the premium end of the market.

“Continued investment in our premium brand is critical to the future success of Qantas,” Mr Joyce said.

“After the GFC (global financial crisis) the premium market did shrink. In recent months that premium market is returning.”