Joyce vows to bring Emirates ‘down to our level’
Passengers to pay for oxygen as airline saves on depressurization
Sydney, 8 May 2013
RELATIONS BETWEEN QANTAS and its new international partner Emirates have soured after a series of cost-cutting measures proposed by CEO Alan Joyce triggered a fistfight between several board members in the duty free arcade at Dubai’s international airport.
No one was injured in the fracas and claims by Joyce that he required medical treatment after an Emirates board member threw sand in his eye could not be confirmed.
The mêlée raises doubts about the long-term viability of a partnership QANTAS hoped would revive the airline’s fading reputation among international travellers.
Sources close to the Emirates board have told VoteSmart that a particularly contentious decision was QANTAS's bid to save on depressurization costs by requiring passengers to purchase their own oxygen tanks and breathing apparatus.
After being contacted by VoteSmart a spokeswoman for Joyce confirmed the tanks would be available from special kiosks located within 600 metres of the check-in gates and accessed via a one-off ‘Anti-asphyxiation fee’ of $180.
She also confirmed rumours that an additional ‘Anti-asphyxiation tank recycling fee’ of $175 will be charged to economy class passengers when alighting the aircraft at the conclusion of the journey.
In addition, the 18kg tanks will henceforth count towards passengers’ carry-on luggage allowance with the fee charged for exceeding the 5kg hand luggage limit rising from $33 to $97 per gram.
The company spokeswoman insisted the airline 'would not force' passengers to purchase oxygen but said that any one who failed to do so and subsequently asphyxiated in flight would have their estate charged a ‘deceased person removal fee’ of $764.
An additional impost would be incurred if the deceased passenger’s next of kin wished to have the body repatriated for a family funeral.
Under this plan any bodies not claimed after 14 days will be dispatched by QANTAS baggage handlers to land fill, a step that will incur an ‘organic waste offset fee’ of $817.
The new cost cutting measures follow similarly controversial initiatives announced last week for QANTAS’s domestic network.
Especially contentious was Joyce’s announcement that from June 1 a ‘new and highly innovative’ set of transit initiatives would be trialled on the Melbourne to Perth route.
The centrepiece of the plan, which Joyce claimed would make QANTAS a ‘world leader in mass aviation transit’, will see all economy class seats removed and replaced with handrails.
Joyce said that while ‘ordinary travellers’ where free to bring their own chairs on flights doing so would incur a $189.00 ‘inconvenience fee’.
Rejecting criticisms that the fee was unfair, Joyce explained the fee had been calculated to offset the inconvenience caused to politicians, major shareholders or board members seated in business class but disturbed by the rattling and scrapping of cheap seats in economy during take off and landing.