Qantas’ urgent bid to win back Aussies

Qantas has bolstered its relationship with strategic management consultancy Boston Consulting Group to help new chief executive Vanessa Hudson repair the airline’s tattered reputation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

Embattled airline Qantas has bolstered its relationship with a global management consulting firm to help restore its souring public standing.

Sources said the Qantas, which had a longstanding relationship with strategic consulting outfit Boston Consulting Group (BCG) , had ramped up its partnership in recent weeks to help navigate the current transition to new chief executive Vanessa Hudson and reputational issues.

BCG is expected to work alongside Qantas’ internal teams and will help accelerate improvements already underway across the national carrier.

Qantas had faced a torrent of criticism in recent months over cancelled flights, lost luggage and allegations of deliberately slowing refunds.

Freshly-minted Qantas chief executive Vanessa Hudson is now tasked with repairing the airline’s tattered reputation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

Public furore came to a head after the airline revealed a super-sized $2.47bn profit result while it slashed costs and struggled to offer adequate customer service.

A class-action lawsuit over pandemic-era refunds, an ACCC investigation over selling cancelled fares, the refusal to pay $2.5bn in government subsidies, and a poor-showing by then-chief executive Alan Joyce at a Senate hearing added to the airline’s woes.

It also became caught up in the furore around the federal government’s decision to deny Qatar Airways application to increase its capacity into eastern Australia, thereby reducing competition in the aviation industry.

Qantas has faced a torrent of criticism in recent weeks, culminating in the early retirement of chief executive Alan Joyce. NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard

Last Tuesday, Mr Joyce, who had served as chief executive for 15 years, announced his immediate resignation from the airline, bringing forward his retirement by two months.

Analysis by market research firm Roy Morgan showed Qantas dropped from one of the most trusted brands to one of Australia’s most distrusted brands.

A decision is due on Wednesday on Qantas’ High Court appeal against a Federal Court ruling that it unlawfully outsourced almost 1700 workers including baggage handlers, tug drivers and cleaners in 2020.

Ms Hudson is expected to make a number of key hires in coming months as she fills vacancies across the executive team.