Qantas endured a difficult November, after two high-profile safety problems which led to a round of negative publicity for the Australian airline. Rolls-Royce, the company who make the engines for the Airbus 380s concerned, has also seen its BrandIndex scores suffer.
In the story that broke last month, one Qantas Airbus 380 was forced to make an emergency landing at Singapore’s Changi airport after the engine failed over Indonesia on 4 November. To make matters worse, a Qantas Boeing 747-400 bound for Sydney was forced to turn back and land at Changi once again after another engine problem a day later, although the airline announced that this was not related to the previous event.
BrandIndex data for Qantas and Rolls-Royce shows an initial drop in scores. On the 3 November the Buzz scores for Qantas and Rolls-Royce both stood at 2pts and had dropped to -27.6pts and -12.3pts respectively by 12 November. General Impression scores for both brands also suffered, with Qantas’s scores dropping by 15.7 pts and Rolls-Royce by 25.2 pts around the crisis.
In comparison, when British Airway’s cabin crew union Unite announced their intention to strike, BA’s Buzz score fell from -14.2pts on 10 May to a low of -57.5pts on the 27 May. BrandIndex data shows that BA’s story had more resonance with the public, the Buzz for both Qantas and Rolls-Royce did not fall to the same degree. Furthermore, British Airways took almost 3 months to recover, whereas the scores for the latter are already on their way to recovery, with Qantas ending November on a Buzz score of -5.5, recovering by 24.6 points over 20 days.
Qantas Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce flew onboard Qantas’ first Airbus SAS A380 service on 27 November since the mid-air engine explosion. Joyce’s flight followed the five press briefings and six radio and television interviews he gave since grounding his six A380s hours after the engine blew up. The swift action and public appearances seem to have helped Qantas regain confidence and boosted the public’s opinion of the brand.