Qantas CEO: sell-off of frequent flyer scheme "a complex issue"

By David Flynn, May 9 2014
Qantas CEO: sell-off of frequent flyer scheme

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has hinted that a partial sale of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme is not theforegone conclusion that many people have suggested, and says work continues on assessing not only the mechanics of a sale but its advantages and disadvantages.

Speaking at the Macquarie Australia Conference in Sydney yesterday, Joyce said "we are still working through the pros and cons of selling the frequent flyer business," adding that "it is a complex issue."

The loyalty program is considered a jewel in Qantas' crown.

Unhindered by the costs of aircraft, fuel and unionised staff, and driven instead by the sharply business-minded Qantas Loyalty division, the scheme took in a record $1.2 billion in billings across the 2013 financial year to contribute $260 million (before interest and tax) to Qantas' coffers.

Analysts estimate that selling a 49% stake of the program could tip between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion back into the Flying Kangaroo's pouch.

Joyce has previously declared that "all options are on the table" as the airline strives to slash $2 billion in costs over the coming three years and claw its way back to profitability.

Qantas has since revealed sweeping changes to the frequent flyer program, with the number of frequent flyer points and status credits dictated by the cost of a ticket rather than the number of miles flown, along with cuts to the earnings when flying on Oneworld partner airlines.

Read: Could Qantas sell off its frequent flyer program?

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

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