Sir Richard Branson says Qantas boss Alan Joyce’s strategy of maintaining 65% share of Australia’s domestic market has put him “in deep shit”.
Joyce meets senior politicians in Canberra later this week to further lobby them for a rescue package, claiming Virgin had the unfair advantage of being able to lobby foreign-government owned airlines to fund their Australian operations.
Branson said any government bailout for Qantas would result in “every company in Australia” begging the government for money.
He said Qantas had lost hundreds of millions on Joyce’s strategy of maintaing a 65% share of the domestic market.
“Now [Mr Joyce is] appealing to the government to give him money and holding his hat out like a begging bowl to the government,” he told journalists in Dubai.
“Alan Joyce is in deep shit because he drew a line in the sand.”
Qantas told Fairfax Branson’s claims were “ridiculous”:
“As we’ve said many times, Qantas is not asking the government for money. This is in contrast to Virgin, which has been cap in hand to the three foreign-government owned airlines to fund their loss-making strategy. What we’re asking the government for is a level playing field in the domestic aviation market.”
Virgin Atlantic last week announced it would drop its Sydney-Hong Kong route, citing losses of $10m a year and a weaker Australian dollar.
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