RMIT experts: can Qantas reclaim its title as Australia’s national pride amid a surge in controversies?

RMIT experts: can Qantas reclaim its title as Australia’s national pride amid a surge in controversies?

RMIT experts comment on Qantas’ recent controversies and whether they can turn things around for the future.

Topics: Qantas, Qatar, airline industry, transparency, accountability, brand reputation.

Dr Angel Zhong, Associate Professor of Finance 

“Australia's airline industry resembles a cosy oligopoly, where a select few airlines wield significant influence over the market.

“The decision to block Qatar Airways’ entry under the grounds of national interest would hold water if Qantas were on the brink of collapse, thus necessitating the blockade as a bailout measure. 

"However, there is a glaring absence of information explaining how the blockade safeguards national interest, especially when it only appears to impede Qantas’ competition and increase flying costs for the public.

“With the other issues Qantas is facing, it has further exacerbated Qantas' reputation as the national pride.

“Qantas has taken recent measures, such as removing the expiry date of travel credits and the immediate resignation of the current CEO two months earlier than his departure date. 

“But looking at stock market and consumer responses, these measures have not put out the fire and they underscore the severity of the PR disaster the company is grappling with.

“Here are a few things that Qantas can do:

  • Accountability is crucial. Qantas should openly and publicly acknowledge the issues that have eroded Qantas’ image. 

  • Qantas must actively and genuinely listen to their customers’ concerns, complaints, and issues – often their actions seem to be only for their own benefit.

  • Qantas must commit to implementing concrete solutions. There is nothing worse than merely talking the talk, without walking the walk. 

  • Finally, transparency is key. Qantas must prioritise being transparent throughout the entire process, from engaging with stakeholders to proposing tangible remedies and outlining the implementation of those solutions.

“Qantas can turn things around. With the arrival of new CEO Vanessa Hudson, the company has a unique opportunity to rebuild trust and revitalise its reputation from a clean slate.”

Dr Angel Zhong is a finance academic who specialises in empirical asset pricing, digital finance, global financial markets, investor behaviour and the recent trends in retail investing.   

Dr My Nguyen, Senior Lecturer, Finance

“Alan Joyce's early retirement as Qantas CEO comes amid controversies, adding to the ongoing saga surrounding the airline. 

“At the moment, critics argue that the airline is ‘over-earning’ at the expense of their customers. This comes after allegations that Qantas sold tickets for cancelled flights without informing customers. 

“Critics also finds Qantas’ approach to competition questionable, at best, and accuse Qantas of acting like ‘bullies.’

“Given its role as Australia's national pride, Qantas needs a comprehensive strategy that balances profitability with ethical responsibilities to workers, customers, and the public.

“One possible way to design such a strategy is to use the triple bottom line framework, focusing on profit, people and the planet – this can urge businesses to consider social and environmental impacts alongside financial gains. 

“Looking at their recent actions, it’s not hard to see how they have focused only on profits.”

My Nguyen is a Senior Lecturer in Finance who specialises in empirical corporate finance, banking, sustainable finance, and digital financial services.


General media enquiries: RMIT Communications, 0439 704 077 or

05 September 2023


05 September 2023


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