‘Please take me seriously’: 10-year-old writes to airline boss

Alex Jacquot sought advice from Qantas chief Alan Joyce on how to start an airline

Alan Joyce, chief executive officer of Qantas Airways, walks past check-in counters during a media event.

Alan Joyce, chief executive officer of Qantas Airways, walks past check-in counters during a media event.

 

The aviation industry is bracing itself for a new entrant to the market after a 10-year-old boy wrote to the boss of Australia’s biggest airline to seek advice.

In a letter to Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who is from Dublin, Alex Jacquot introduced himself, said how old he was, and then appealed to Mr Joyce to “please take me seriously”.

“I want to start an airline,” he said. “I have already started some stuff like what type of planes I’ll need, flight numbers, catering and more.

“I’m the CEO of the airline, which by the way is called Oceania Express. I’ve also hired a CFO, a head of IT, a head of maintenance, a head of on-board services and a head of legal.

“As well, along with my friend Wolf (vice-CEO) we are both co-founders. I wanted to write to you because I wanted to ask you three things. Number one: I like working on my airline. Seeing as it is the school holidays, I have more time to work.

“But I don’t have anything to do (that I can think of). Do you have any ideas of what I can do? Seeing as you are the CEO of Qantas I thought I’d ask you.

“Number two: do you have any tips on starting an airline? I’d be very grateful to know what you’d have to say. Number three: I’m thinking about, as you are, about an A350 for Sydney/Melbourne to London flights.

“Seeing as it’s a 25 hour flight, we having a lot of trouble thinking about sleep. Do you have any advice?”

Mr Joyce replied to the boy’s letter on February 19th. “Thank you for letting me know about your new airline,” he said. “I had heard some rumours of another entrant in the market, so I appreciate you taking the time to write.

“First, I should say that I’m not typically in the business of giving advice to my competitors. Your newly-appointed head of legal might have something to say about that, too.

“But I’m going to make an exception on this occasion because I too was once a young boy who was so curious about flight and all its possibilities.

“My number one tip for starting an airline for starting an airline is to put safety front and centre. And do everything you can to make travel as comfortable and affordable as possible for passengers.

“Now, to your troubles thinking about sleep on 21-hour flights. This is something we are grappling with too, as we embark on Project Sunrise (which is our plan to fly passengers non-stop between the east coast of Australia and London).

“To help with sleep, we’re looking at different cabin designs that give people spaces to stretch out and exercise. We want to think up as many ideas as possible to make the journey more comfortable for all.”

My Joyce concluded his letter by inviting the boy to a meeting “between myself, as the CEO of Australia’s oldest airline, and you, as the CEO of Australia’s newest airline”.