Qantas CEO To Stay Another 3 Years


Alan Joyce, the current Qantas CEO has been requested remain in his role for another three years.

This will mean he will oversee the launch of London to Sydney/Melbourne direct routes, as well as a few other major overhauls at the airline.

“I’ll stay for as long as the board and shareholders want me, and as long as I’m enjoying the job and feel I have more I can give to it,” Joyce said in a statement emailed to BloombergFrankly, all of those things are as true now as they’ve ever been.”

Alan joyce
CEO Alan Joyce has served as CEO for 14 years. Photo: Qantas

Who is Alan Joyce?

After graduating Dublin Institute of Technology, a young and plucky Alan Joyce took a sales role at Aer Lingus which opened up into a multitude of different opportunities. During his tenure, he quickly rotated through everything from customer service, to logistics, to operations.

In 1996 he left Aer Lingus to join underdog Ansett in Australia in a network planning role. Of course, Ansett ended up going the same way as Air Australia, and Joyce found himself rolled into the same role at Qantas.

Then in 2003, he got his big break; he made CEO of Jetstar, a new low-cost carrier looking to take on the Australian domestic market. At the time only Virgin Blue (Which would later become Virgin Australia) was competing against Qantas.

Dual Engine Failure
A Jetstar Boeing 787. Photo: Jetstar

Jetstar would go on to be incredibly profitable for Qantas under his leadership. Joyce championed several projects such as:

  • The first Australian airline to allow passengers to select seats
  • Growing international routes and ordering the 787 Dreamliner for the fleet.
  • Launching several international subsidiaries, such as Jetstar Vietnam and Jetstar Asia.

Because of his success, he would be asked to helm Qantas in 2008. But his time as the CEO has not been without controversy.

In 2011, the Qantas pilot union threatened industrial action in response to job losses and structural changes. In response, Joyce grounded the entire fleet, stranding thousands across the world.


Qantas has been following a three-year economic recovery plan set out by Joyce in 2014, and has returned to profit.

An interesting bit of trivia, in 2017, whilst giving a speech at an event in Perth, he had a pie thrown in his face. The assailant claimed that this was retribution for Joyce publicly supporting the gay marriage movement in Australia. Subsequently, not only was the pie-thrower charged with trespass and assault, but banned from Qantas and Jetstar for life.

What future goals does he have?

It’s quite unusual in Australia for a CEO to serve as long as Joyce. He has been in the role for 14 years, about three years longer than the market average.

But it doesn’t mean he has run out things to do.

A top priority right now is getting Project Sunrise up and running. This project looks to bring direct flights from London to Sydney and Melbourne by 2022. Qantas has been rumored to be in the final aircraft selection stages, choosing between the A350-1000LR and the Boeing 777X (Although our experts would not rule out the 787 being used).

Qantas 787 Dreamliner
The 787 Dreamliner has done very well for Qantas so far. Photo: Qantas

And this is no simple task either. Because the flights could take up to 26 hours, pilot hours will need to be renegotiated with the unions. That is only the tip of the logistics iceberg, including things like airspace permissions, route mapping, passenger comforts (what do you do for 26 hours!) and much more.

In addition to that, he also needs to figure out whether Qantas will buy the 797 or A321neo for their 737 fleet renewal (or follow Virgin and buy the 737 MAX) and make a decision on the Airbus A220.

Qantas’ plan for new aircraft over the next decade. Source: Qantas

Needless to say, his work is far from done. But where he will go after Qantas (he is only 52 after all) he isn’t saying.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!