Thursday, November 18, 2010

Qantas and the Grand Prix: a match made in heaven. Or hell.

Qantas. It’s been in the news lately. Because several of its planes have met with mishaps. The record [1] reveals two Qantas mishaps in 2006, four in 2007, eight in 2008, five in 2009, and so far 12 in 2010. I’ve previously written of Qantas’s mishaps [2] and their likely cause(s) [3]. Judging by these stats, self evidently Qantas hasn’t successfully fixed the cause(s). Me? I used to selectively fly Qantas – domestically and internationally. Its safety record seduced me. Since 1992 I’ve been a Qantas Club member. And I own 188 Qantas shares (current price A$2.67 each). I bought them when Qantas was naming rights sponsor of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix (which it did from 1997-2001) and I was a Save Albert Park activist. From 2002 to 2009 when the major sponsors were Foster’s then ING, I indolently retained these shares. Then, amazingly, in 2010 Qantas became major sponsor again, announcing its 1-year sponsorship less than a month before the event [4]. Last Saturday Qantas announced a 1-year extension – for the 2011 event [5]. What a perfect fit: an airline that can’t control its rapidly increasing frequency of mishaps, and an event that can’t control its rapidly inceasing requirement for taxpayer bailouts. It’s a match made in heaven. Or, more likely, hell.

P.S. Our house guest Dieter flies out today bound for Canada. He’s flying from Launceston to Melbourne, then from Melbourne to Sydney on, yes, Qantas. I wish him safe travelling.

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