If anyone ever doubted that you can’t believe everything you read, the media speculation preceding the big Qantas restructure certainly proves it.
The guessing-game was in full swing before the Aug. 16 announcement. Various mass-market media reports revealed that Jetstar was going to move its headquarters offshore, and that Qantas was going to dump international destinations ranging from New York to Frankfurt.
As it happened, most of this was wrong. The route cuts turned out to be less far-reaching than people thought. Sectors from Bangkok and Hong Kong to London were dropped, and the widely-expected shift from Buenos Aires to Santiago as the South American gateway was confirmed. (We didn’t jump into the guessing game, if you are wondering, and many respected aviation journos also refrained).
During a media Q&A, Alan Joyce took a few digs at those that indulged in the speculation. It was triggered by a reporter’s question about whether the Frankfurt route was being eliminated as reported.
Joyce: “If you don’t see a route mentioned [in the transformation plan] it’s still there. So despite the rumors that have gone around… I think every route on a network at some stage over the last two weeks was [mentioned], we were being told that we were going to exit from it. I said we were not confirming or denying anything, because it was completely wrong for some of these routes that were appearing. So Frankfurt is on our network. New York’s on our network. LA’s still on our network, Dallas is still on our network. I won't go through all of them because we'll be here all day but they're all still on our network. It’s only the routes that we're talking about here today that changed.”
Later, in another briefing, Joyce was even more scathing about the Jetstar headquarters rumor. He said that the reporter who wrote this called Qantas for comment, and they told him it was wrong. He went ahead and printed it anyway, Joyce said.
The release of the new international plan did take many by surprise. Qantas had earlier signaled that it would be released during its next earnings release on Aug. 24. But apparently the decision was made that it should happen earlier, to avoid a mind-numbing deluge of information on the same day. As it was, Qantas put out at least six separate releases on Aug. 16 for the transformation plan.