Jetstar and Qantas perception ratings soar following Bonza’s implosion

This image is of a Jetstar Airbus A320 departing Brisbane International Airport runway 19L. Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd, operating as Jetstar, is an Australian low-cost airline (self-described as
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Low-cost carrier Bonza Aviation recently entered voluntary administration, after it abruptly cancelled all its flights, leaving passengers stranded at airports in the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Avalon.

    Shortly after, Virgin Australia and Qantas (along with its low-cost arm Jetstar) offered to fly affected passengers to their destinations at no additional cost where seats were available.

    But to what extent has consumer perception towards major low-cost and full-service airlines in Australia changed in the immediate aftermath of Bonza’s sudden grounding?

    Latest data from YouGov BrandIndex suggests that most consumers are aware about the suspension of Bonza’s services. The Queensland-based carrier’s Buzz score (which measures whether consumers have heard more positive or negative things about a brand in the past two weeks) plunged around 16 points from 4.2 on Apr 1 to -12.1 by May 8 – entering negative territory a day after it suspended services on Apr 30, indicating that consumers heard more negative than positive things about the airline.

    Apart from Scoot (the low-cost arm of Singapore Airlines) – which also inched downwards from 0.9 on Apr 1 to -0.1 by May 8 – other major airlines operating in Australia either saw improvements or largely maintained their buzz scores over the same period.

    Jetstar and Qantas, which had negative buzz scores at the start of April, saw the largest jumps of 6.6 points (-2.4 on Apr 1 to 4.2 on May 8) and 5.6 points (-0.6 on Apr 1 to 5.0 on May 8) respectively, while Virgin Australia and AirAsia saw slight increases of 1.7 (12.7 on Apr 1 to 14.4 on May 8) and 1.0 (0.1 on Apr 1 to 2.1 on May 8) respectively.

    Bonza’s Recommendation score (which tracks how likely consumers are to recommend or advise others to avoid a brand) took a similar dive, from 3.2 on Apr 1 to -7.9 by May 8, while Scoot and AirAsia saw their scores dip by 1.5 and 0.6 points over the same period.

    In contrast, the number of Aussies who would recommend Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin have grown. Jetstar saw the largest improvement of 7.2 points, from 5.1 on Apr 1 to 2.1 by May 8. But Virgin Australia which saw a smaller improvement of 2.6 points, from 26 on Apr 1 to 28.6 by May 8, remains by far the most recommended carrier of the list.

    However, when Aussies were asked about the airlines they would personally consider flying with on their next trip, Scoot remains the least favoured airline on the list (4.6 per cent on May 8) – since the start of April through Bonza’s suspension just before May – followed by Bonza (6.5 per cent on May 8).

    Both low-cost carriers also saw their Consideration scores dip over the period.

    On the other hand, consideration for Qantas saw the largest improvement of 7.7 percentage points
    over the period – from 29.5 per cent on Apr 1 to 37.2 per cent by May 8 – and leads the other carriers on this list as of early May. Virgin Australia, previously the most considered of the pack in early April, is now
    in second place (34.8 per cent), followed by Jetstar (24.8 per cent).

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