Australian flag-carrier is celebrating one of its best years ever and as an award to its employees, everyone is going to receive a bonus of $2,500 AUD. That’s equivalent to about $1986 USD or €1664. It comes after Qantas posted its second best financial results in history – admittedly, it was 8.6% down on lasts years bumper profits but still better than what experts were forecasting.
Only a few years ago Qantas seemed to be in a bit of quagmire – it was struggling financially and trying to fight fierce competition from the likes of Singapore Airways and Emirates. Even on home turf, where Qantas only has to compete with Virgin Australia, the carrier just wasn’t performing that well.
But it seems like a near $2 billion AUD turnaround project led by divisive CEO, Alan Joyce is starting to pay dividends. As the airline presented its financial results, Joyce explained the plan had created “$3.5 billion in cumulative underlying profit.”
And it looks like financial efficiencies – or cost saving – is now ingrained in the company culture. Here’s how Joyce presented his argument: “We operate in a very competitive environment, so continuous improvement is crucial. Being more efficient is part of our culture and we’re now targeting an average of $400 million in gross benefits a year.”
But that’s not to say that saving costs necessarily means cutting back the passenger experience – in fact, Qantas has unveiled a whole raft of investments for the next few years. Much of the money will be used to significantly upgrade its long haul fleet of aircraft.
The biggest changes will be seen on the carrier’s fleet of 12 Airbus A380 aircraft. Millions of dollars are to be spent rejigging the passenger cabin and upgrading the premium cabins. Here’s a quick summary of what’s to come:
- Business Class will have the latest version of the Qantas Business Suites installed. These offer direct aisle access for every passenger and Qantas dubs them as a ‘mini First Class’.
- Premium Economy will also get the latest version of Qantas’ PE seat. They offer 10% more width and will be installed in a 2-3-2 configuration.
- For First Class, the current seats will remain but they’ll be refurbished and new, larger television screens are to be installed. A new passenger lounge will also be installed on the upper deck.
- Meanwhile, Economy won’t get new seats but the ones already installed will be reupholstered and better television screens will be installed.
Work is set to start in 2019 will the upgrades complete across the fleet by 2020. In the meantime, First Class passengers will get a new memory foam mattress and pillow menu.
But these improvements could prove to be incredibly important. Qantas already operates the longest flight in the world – from Sydney to Dallas Fort-Worth and now it want’s to go even further. Positioning itself as an ultra-long haul airline, Qantas has a planned 14,498 kilometre, 17-hour service from Perth in Western Australia to London starting next year. The route is now only possible because of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
And it doesn’t even stop there. Qantas has already said it wants to go further – Drawing up plans to operate flights from Sydney to London, Brisbane-Paris and Melbourne-New York. There’s just one snag – there’s not an aircraft in existence that will fly that far. That’s why Qantas has laid down the gauntlet to both Boeing and Airbus to create an updated version of the 787 or A350 that will match its aims. It want’s the route to take flight by 2022.
With those kind of flight times, it’s hard to argue that the staff bonus for cabin crew isn’t well deserved. Qantas flight attendants are some of the most highly trained in the industry. Congratulations to all 30,000 employees in the Qantas family.