The Qantas chief has silenced speculation surrounding the group’s plans to set up a full service Asian airline. Recent media reports have suggested that plans for a premium Asian carrier would be shelved as the Euro debt crisis rolls on, affecting the health of the global economy.
Alan Joyce, Chief Executive Chairman at Qantas, quickly refuted the rumours, saying that this was not the case. In fact he said it was vital that the Australian flag carrier moves forward quickly, accelerating plans to set up a new airline, possibly named RedQ, in Southeast Asia.
”Nothing has changed about our preparedness to turn around our international business,” Joyce told the Sydney Morning Herald. ”If anything, it means we have to accelerate and keep on going with our plans to turn it around because the high fuel prices and the economic conditions mean that the turnaround plan is critical.”
Airline alliances will be a key part of Qantas’ Asia expansion strategy, and reports had suggested a deal was imminent with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and that the new carrier would be based out of Kuala Lumpur, leaving Singapore out of the running.
Joyce denied the reports, stating that Singapore is still under consideration as a potential hub from which to launch Asian services and that a full service carrier was still on the cards.
“We believe that a new premium airline in Asia is important for us,” Joyce told The World Today. “And the timing of that airline and how it works with partners is still part of the discussions we are having with both Singapore and with Malaysia, and no final decision has been made on what we are going to do.”
Analysts see a MAS deal as a more likely outcome because it is also a member of Oneworld airline alliance and is partly owned by AirAsia chief, Tony Fernandes.