SYDNEY: Qantas pilots called Tuesday on the Australian carrier’s chairman Richard Goyder to resign for presiding over “woeful decisions” that have battered morale and the airline’s reputation.
The call comes after former chief executive Alan Joyce took early retirement on Sept 5 as Qantas battled criticism over high prices, mass ground staff layoffs and allegations it sold thousands of tickets for already-cancelled flights.
“Richard Goyder has overseen one of the most damaging periods in Qantas history which has included the illegal sacking of 1,700 workers, allegations of illegally marketing cancelled flights, and a terribly managed return to operations after Covid-19,” Australian and International Pilots Association president Captain Tony Lucas said in a statement.
“The morale of Qantas pilots has never been lower. We have totally lost confidence in Goyder and his Board.”
The association, which represents Qantas Group pilots, complained of a “series of woeful decisions”, saying it was the first time in its 42-year history that it had called on a chairman of the airline to resign.
“Qantas desperately needs a culture reset but how can this happen with Richard Goyder as chairman?” Lucas said.
“Despite overseeing the destruction of the Qantas brand, Goyder last week accepted a near AUS$100,000 (US$64,000) pay rise – taking his pay to AUS$750,000 – while staff are expected to accept a two-year wage freeze. This is a galling and tone-deaf decision.”
The pilots’ statement came a day after Qantas vowed to invest an extra AUS$80 million in the next financial year to June 30, 2024 to soothe customer “pain points”, including by increasing the number of seats redeemable by frequent flyer points and giving more generous support when “operational issues arise”.
Qantas warned at the same time that fuel prices had increased by about 30 percent since May 2023 and that it may have to “adjust its settings” to recover some of the extra cost if higher prices were sustained.
“The group remains in a very strong financial position, including its debt levels and continued strong revenue intakes,” it said.