QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce announced at a Senate inquiry in Canberra this week that “We [QANTAS] have a commitment to safety leadership”, and followed it with “somewhere in the world a QANTAS group plane takes off every second and there’s only a ‘technical problem’ every four minutes”. If you do the maths, that equates to 1 in every 240 planes having some form of malfunction, a fact which doesn’t put travelers at ease especially considering the escalating number of engine problems and recent scrutiny over pilot training.

Joyce blames “…the press interest and the press scrutiny,” for the rising fear and distrust in the company, but this was not remedied by the aforementioned statistics he decided to make public. Although the stats he mentioned indicate there’s a minute (0.004%) chance of something going wrong in each individual flight, the way he presented them was labeled a ‘major PR fail’ by a number of media outlets. Downplaying the problems that have been occurring over the past six months isn’t the right way to go about it either; Joyce was quoted saying that the latest QANTAS engine problem is a “minor issue”.

Alan Joyce doesn't quite get his media response off the ground

I feel it would have been more appropriate that instead of merely toeing the line of QANTAS’ strong commitment to safety, to touch on the issues that really matter. Joyce said that QANTAS pledged a further $120 million on safety checks and maintenance, now this seems like a statistic that should have been emphasised and reiterated by Joyce, not the disappointing and albeit scary statistic. However, I’m sure most people would agree in saying that presenting the statistics in a different way would be ‘spin-doctoring’, what’s your view?

While I believe that QANTAS has taken the recent technical problems seriously and is looking into more thorough safety measures, Joyce’s response could have been better. His media coach, if he has one, failed to defuse Joyce’s defensive approach and general blundering throughout the statement. QANTAS should have anticipated a negative reaction to the statement, as there was a room of harsh judges listening to his every word, waiting for him to slip up, one of those being the Firebrand Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan, who called the Irish-born head of QANTAS (Joyce) “an old Irish bomb maker”. Not really the desired effect?

@Christie McClure