Virgin comes out winning from Qantas’ tanking reputation: YouGov BrandIndex

Adelaide, Australia - March 21, 2016: Planes from domestic air industry competitors and rivals Qantas and Virgin, coming and going from Adelaide airport.
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Qantas’ brand health has taken an unprecedented dive after the airline allegedly sold tickets for thousands of flights that had already been cancelled.

    Data from YouGov BrandIndex revealed that Virgin Australia emerged as the main beneficiary of Qantas Airways’ ongoing crisis.

    On September 6, Alan Joyce stepped down as CEO of Qantas Airways two months ahead of schedule, handing over leadership of the Australian flag carrier to former CFO Vanessa Hudson. His abrupt departure came days after the airline faced legal action from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), for allegedly selling tickets for thousands of flights that had already been cancelled over a three-month period in 2022.

    Barely a week after the leadership change, the High Court of Australia unanimously ruled that Qantas broke industrial law by illegally firing 1,700 ground staff at 10 Australian airports in 2020, upholding an earlier federal court ruling which the airline had appealed against.

    Following this tumultuous string of high-profile lawsuits, how has Qantas’ brand health been impacted?

    Latest data from YouGov BrandIndex shows that consumer sentiment towards “The Flying Kangaroo” has soured sharply as news of its alleged misconduct spreads far and wide.

    Qantas’ Buzz score (which measures whether consumers have heard more positive or negative things about a brand in the past two weeks) hovered around 10 points for most of July, but dipped to 7.7 on August 21 when it was served a class-action lawsuit for allegedly withholding refunds on cancelled flights, then dropped to 3.1 on August 31 when the ACCC started legal proceedings.

    By the time Joyce stepped down on September 6, Qantas’ Buzz score had entered negative territory at -1.9 – which meant more consumers heard something negative than positive about the brand over the past two weeks – before plummeting to -7.2 by September 14, a day after Australia’s top court ruled that the carrier illegally fired 1,700 ground staff during the pandemic.

    Consumer impression towards Qantas took a similar nosedive. Between the class-action lawsuit on August 21 and Joyce’s early exit on September 6, the airline’s Impression score lost 10 points – declining from 26.9 to 16.9 – before falling to 8.3 the day after the High Court ruling, on September 14.

    Meanwhile, the flag carrier’s Index score (an overall measure of brand health calculated as an average of Impression, Quality, Value, Reputation, Satisfaction, Recommendation scores) more than halved over the same period: tumbling from 21.5 on August 21 to 10.2 by September 14.

    Data from YouGov BrandIndex also reveals that Virgin Australia has emerged as the main beneficiary of Qantas Airways’ ongoing crisis. Virgin’s Index score, which was neck to neck with Qantas in early August, has started on an upward trend since late August – as Qantas’ Index score moved in the opposite direction.
    Between Qantas’s class-action lawsuit on August 21 and its change of CEO on September 6, Virgin’s Index score rose from 25.1 to 27.6 points – before climbing to 28.8 by September 14, after Australia’s top court ruled Qantas has illegally fired ground staff during the pandemic.

    During this period, Virgin also launched a baggage tracking tool covering more than two-thirds of its domestic network in Australia, and a self-service flight rebooking tool for business passengers whose flights have been disrupted.

    Qantas’ smaller rival Bonza Aviation also recorded slight gains in consumer sentiment over the same period. The low-cost carrier saw its Index score increase from 3.1 on August 21 to 4.7 by September 14, although this remains more than five points lower than Qantas.

    Latest News

    • Cruise

    Seabourn introduces enhanced groups programs for travel advisors

    Leading ultra-luxury cruising and expedition travel company, Seabourne, proudly announces the “Seabourn Enhanced Groups Program” to elevate business prospects for travel advisors. This program introduces a revamped Tour Conductor Credit that offers shipboard credits or bonus commission for bookings. It also eliminates the need for deposits for small group allotments and increases group capacity. “Seabourn […]

    • Cruise

    MSC World America to become the ultimate family destination at sea

    MSC Cruises’ latest world-class ship is set to redefine family cruising with unprecedented spaces and activities, including ones developed in partnership with the LEGO® group. The cruise line announced that its new flagship will feature seven distinct districts, each bringing together a range of tailored experiences. The ship’s blend of American comfort and European design […]

    • Cruise

    Ponant’s latest luxury cruise expeditions for 2024 and 2025

    Head out to see the beauty of unique destinations on three bucket-list explorations of Australia with Ponant Cruise’s new luxury expeditions. Known for their luxury cruises, Ponant offers unique and truly exceptional sea voyage aboard sleek and intimately sized cruise yachts. They offer a range of discovery expeditions, and launched new cruises that take guests […]

    • News

    Liz Anderson steps down from CATO Board after eight years of leadership

    The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has today announced that Liz Anderson (at right) will be stepping down from the Board on Wednesday June 19, concluding her eight years as a director. “The eight years that Liz served on the CATO board were the most transformative time in the Association’s history,” CATO Chair Dennis […]

    • Attractions

    Comedian Josh Thomas road tests swapping day job for Tassie odd jobs

    Australians are invited to tap into a 200-million-day annual leave bank* and swap day jobs for one of 10 ‘Odd Jobs’ in Tasmania this off-season including Wombat Walker, Paranormal Investigator, Wine Whisperer and Truffler Snuffler. Tourism Tasmania has today launched Odd Jobs, a tongue-in-cheek campaign designed to encourage Australians to swap their day jobs for […]

    • Aviation
    • News

    Christine O’Reilly to replace Peter Hay as chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation

    Christine O’Reilly has been named as the new chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation (APAC) – the owner of Melbourne and Launceston Airports. According to a release, O’Reilly will replace Peter Hay on 1 October, who retires after five years as Chair of APAC. APAC CEO Lorie Argus said O’Reilly’s appointment comes at an exciting […]

    • Tourism

    The number one thing you can’t forget if you’re going to Europe & The Olympics

    As the Summer Olympics in Paris draws near, travel insurance comparison site Compare the Market is urging travellers to safeguard their European summer sports dreams by getting travel insurance for when the unexpected happens. While France seems like a decently safe country to visit, it’s crucial not to overlook the potential risks that could disrupt a holiday. From bed […]

    • Destinations
    • Partner Content

    The Solomon Islands’ is ‘Kulture-plus’

    Be grateful that your experience of 'headhunting' is limited to some random dude reaching out to you on LinkedIn.

    Partner Content

    by Travel Weekly

    Travel Weekly
    • Cruise

    Cruise Traveller’s new Scottish Highlands cruise tour package

    Australian small ship cruising specialist, Cruise Traveller, offers a 20-night land and sea holiday in the UK aboard the Lord of the Glens. The tiny cruise line’s 52-guest boutique vessel, Lord of the Glens, is purpose-built to explore the intricate waterways and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. It boasts a rich, traditional ambience with polished […]

    • Cruise

    Celebrity Xcel’s keel-laying ceremony in France, with 2025 inaugural sail planned

    Construction has commenced on Celebrity Cruises’ next ship, Celebrity Xcel, with a keel-laying ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. An Edge Series ship, Celebrity Xcel will set sail in autumn 2025, with several new yet-to-be-revealed offerings. At the ceremony, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), the parent […]

    • Destinations
    • Tour Operators

    Globus unveils nine new independent tours for 2025

    Coach touring brand Globus has unveiled nine new independent tours for 2025, from Bangkok to Bali and Abu Dhabi to Nepal. “With Globus Independent tours, our guests are free to enjoy the many benefits of touring, untethered and unscheduled,” APAC head of marketing, Globus family of brands (GFOB), Chris Fundell said. “Providing hand-picked hotel accommodations, […]

    • Hotels

    Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group opens Mandarin Oriental Mayfair

    The Mandarin Oriental has opened a second property in London, the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, in the heart of historic Hanover Square. Designed by internationally renowned Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, the hotel is the first new build in Mayfair in over a decade. Bringing a modern architectural approach to one of London’s most storied squares, […]