Qantas boss confident about Boeing Max

Irish-born chief executive Joyce expects US manufacturer to fix issue with aircraft

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce: “I think Boeing are fantastic engineering company, they will fix this issue.” Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce: “I think Boeing are fantastic engineering company, they will fix this issue.” Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

 

The Irish-born boss of Australia’s largest airline, Qantas, has affirmed his confidence in Boeing as the planemaker works to improve its aircraft following two fatal crashes involving the 737 Max.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Alan Joyce said: “I think Boeing are fantastic engineering company, they will fix this issue,” adding that his airline had a “lot” of Boeing aircraft.

He said that while Qantas currently has a substantial order for Airbus Neo aircraft, the airline will next year be looking to place an order for an additional 75 aircraft with either Boeing or France-based Airbus.

Mr Joyce was speaking at the annual dinner of business lobby group Dublin Chamber on Thursday. The event was also addressed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and AIB chief executive Colin Hunt.

While in Dublin Mr Joyce had scheduled meetings with Airbus and aircraft leasing companies including Macquarie. Qantas also leases aircraft from Shannon-based GECAS.

Mr Joyce said his discussions with Airbus were in connection with his airline’s so-called Project Sunrise which aims to have non-stop flights between Australia and London and New York.

“We’re working on the price of the aircraft and the performance of the aircraft and we’re nearly there,” he said, speaking of the meeting he had with Airbus on Wednesday.

Asked whether a return to the Republic was on the cards for the Tallaght-born executive who previously worked in Aer Lingus, he said: “I’m very happy in Australia and Sydney and there’s no better brand for me in the aviation industry than Qantas.”

Separately at the event, Chamber president Niall Gibbons called on the Government to improve Dublin’s housing supply and make progress on its infrastructure plans. He also said the appointment of a mayor is “essential to driving Dublin forward”.

Housing

The Chamber is calling for construction of at least 14,000 homes in Dublin per year, double the current output, to improve access to housing in the city.

“There is little surprise that the lack of availability and affordability of housing in Dublin is an issue that is affecting the attractiveness of the city as a place to live and work. The current push to ramp up the delivery of new housing supply is welcome and this concerted effort needs to be maintained over the medium term,” said Mr Gibbons, who is also the chief executive of Tourism Ireland.

In terms of transport, the Chamber advocates for the delivery of the 19km MetroLink line between Swords and Dublin City centre, the rollout of 2,400km of cycle lanes and the delivery of 230km of bus priority lanes under BusConnects. After housing and the cost of living, public transport was identified by 59 per cent of respondents to a survey as one of the biggest challenges facing Dublin.

“Commencing the MetroLink project will be a real statement of intent regarding our willingness to solve Dublin’s congestion woes. We also need a step change in the delivery of short-term measures too, including improvements to the city’s cycling infrastructure,” Mr Gibbons said.

Dublin Chamber’s report, focusing on Dublin’s reputation, is based on the responses of 5,500 people living abroad and 1,000 international workers based in Dublin.