Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has defended the company’s recent string of cancellations, claiming they are evidence of adequate safety measures.
Before discussing specific safety measures, Joyce brought out the high cost of airline tickets, which is not a problem exclusive to Qantas.
“Higher tickets are also a reflection of inflation and, in particular, fuel costs, which have increased by 65% in the previous six months compared with pre-COVID levels. Joyce said that this would “naturally” affect the cost of a ticket to fly.
There were six incidents in seven days, the most recent being a paperwork problem on a flight from Adelaide and a reroute from Sydney to Fiji due to a report of fumes in the cabin.
Engine failure and a mayday call from an Auckland-bound aircraft to Sydney were among the earlier events. On a flight from Sydney to Nadi, there was a “fault indication” warning passengers of a possible mechanical problem.
Despite the media attention, Mr. Joyce said that the turnbacks demonstrated the national carrier’s robust safety protocols.
In an opinion article titled “Getting Qantas back to its best”, posted on the Qantas website last Thursday, he said, “Our pilots always choose the side of caution because that’s what we educate them to do.”
“They often choose to land rather than continue to the destination if an onboard system isn’t functioning as it should,” Joyce said.
“I commend them and urge them to continue doing that. And most of our customers agree, despite the inconvenience.
From more than 10,000 flights worldwide, the Qantas Group averages roughly 60 air turnbacks yearly or one for every 2000 flights.
It made more sense to return to a major city than to fly on to a remote town where there may be a different degree of technical assistance, according to Mr. Joyce, who claimed that the regional subsidiary QantasLink had more, with over 200 a year.
Suppose you’re travelling on an aeroplane with a problem. In that case, it’s not because it needs to be better maintained, he said, adding that there was no difference between Qantas’ average rate of turnbacks before and after COVID. We will always put safety ahead of time since these are incredibly complicated pieces of equipment with several levels of redundancy.