Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

- Advertisement -

Aviation war: Virgin slams Alan Joyce for lying about payback rates, but Qantas says data is correct

Alan Joyce has sparked an extraordinary war of words between Qantas and Virgin Australia after being accused of spreading ‘serious misinformation’ by his rival airline.

In two TV appearances on Friday morning, the Qantas CEO rejoiced that his airline’s operational performance is “better than before Covid” despite recent issues that saw eight flights forced to return in January.

Mr Joyce told Sunrise and the Today Show that turnbacks are ‘very rare’ and insisted Virgin experienced the same number ‘or slightly more’ in the same month.

In a fiery response, Virgin criticized Mr Joyce for spreading ‘serious misinformation’.

That prompted another response from Qantas, who told Daily Mail Australia that Virgin’s statement was “strange and disappointing.”

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (pictured) appeared on Sunrise and the Today Show, highlighting that the airline had as many flight turnarounds as Virgin Australia in January

The row started after Mr Joyce’s comments on Friday about Qantas’ January slump.

“What I’m saying is that Qantas mainline… was back eight times in the month of January, six on the 737s,” said Mr. Joyce to Sunrise host Natalie Barr.

“Virgin actually had about the same number, I think it was a little more, on the 737 fleet which is about the same size.”

This prompted a Virgin spokesperson to tell Daily Mail Australia that the airline had four return flights in January – half the number its competitor had experienced.

“Virgin Australia wishes to correct the serious misinformation provided by the CEO of our major competitor during media interviews this morning,” Virgin Airlines said.

“In January, we flew about 26 percent more Boeing 737 flights compared to our major competitor, and we experienced half the air returns they experienced.

“We can confirm that Virgin Australia had four technically related air returns in its main fleet in January 2023 – not the eight as suggested to the media by our competitor – and one in February.”

“Three of those technically related air returns were in the last three weeks — not six or more as suggested to the media by our competitor.”

Virgin Airlines (pictured) accused Mr Joyce of spreading 'serious misinformation' and claimed it had only four technical return flights - half the number

Virgin Airlines (pictured) accused Mr Joyce of spreading 'serious misinformation' and claimed it had only four technical return flights - half the number

Virgin Airlines (pictured) accused Mr Joyce of spreading ‘serious misinformation’ and claimed it had just four technical return flights – half the number of its competitor

Virgin said the main reversals in January include a flight from Perth to Kalgoorlie on January 10, a flight from Perth to Brisbane on January 11, a flight from Darwin to Melbourne on January 20 and a flight from Brisbane to Darwin on January 28.

The airline said it took pride in its operational performance and conducted air returns in accordance with operational procedures without any risk to the flights.

At Virgin Australia, the safety of our guests and crew is always our number one priority.

Qantas Airlines fired back at its rival, calling the comments “strange and disappointing.”

The national carrier told Daily Mail Australia that Virgin was “downsizing” their numbers based on semantics.

“It’s strange that Virgin chooses to be defensive at turns when our whole message today was that they are a normal and safe part of aviation,” Qantas said.

And it’s disappointing that their only contribution to the public discussion on this topic has been to narrow down their turnback numbers through careful definitions.

“Whether a turnaround is for technical reasons, a bird strike, a sick passenger or the weather, it is ultimately all about safety and should not be minimized.”

Qantas responded by labeling Virgin Australia’s comments as ‘strange’ and ‘disappointing’, claiming the airline lowered its figures through careful definitions

It comes after Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was mocked for claiming the airline is “back to its best” despite several issues still plaguing his company.

The airline shared data collected from global flight tracking service Flightradar24, showing Virgin returned eight times in January with its 737 fleet.

However, the data does not show the reasons for the flight reversals.

It comes after Mr Joyce was criticized for claiming Qantas is ‘back to its best’ in an op-ed on Thursday.

Mr Joyce praised his airline, claiming that the ‘Spirit of Australia’ had dramatically improved its services across the board.

“We have been the most punctual of the major domestic airlines for five consecutive months,” he wrote.

The CEO explained that Qantas’ churn rate over the past 12 months has been consistent with pre-covid-19 levels, with one returning aircraft for every 2,000 flights.

‘Our level of service – bags, cancellations, catering and the call center – is again as customers expect from us. And we’re working to make it better.”

A tweet from Qantas about Mr Joyce’s comments sparked a furious backlash from irate customers who endured a disastrous run of months with the airline ranging from lost luggage, unresponsive call centers and failed ‘flight credit’.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.