Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans has today announced he will step down from his current role as Qantas Airways (ASX: QAN) releases its June market update detailing debt reduction amid market recovery.
After 23 years at Qantas, Evans, who also served Qantas Group as chief financial officer, CEO of Qantas International and, since 2017, CEO of Jetstar, will step down in December this year, deciding this is the right moment to move on.
The CEO will remain with the group into 2023 to work on new projects before eventually leaving the company altogether. An internal recruitment process to find his replacement is underway, with a handover of several months expected.
“Gareth has been a superb leader and member of the senior executive team for many years. He’s given an incredible amount to the organisation in several key roles, from his time as CFO through major restructuring and most recently as Jetstar CEO as we navigated COVID. When he leaves next year it will be with our sincere thanks and best wishes,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We spend a lot of time developing our internal talent pipelines for succession opportunities like this and we’ll be appointing a new chief executive for Jetstar soon.”
The announcement was included in a Qantas trading update, detailing how the company’s recovery has seen net debt fall by about $1.5 billion in the past six months to fall to around $4 billion by 30 June 2022.
While the company still expects a “significant” full year underlying EBITDA loss for FY22 - including the worst of Delta and Omicron impacts as well as restart costs - Qantas says it is on track to being earnings positive in 2H22 of between $450 million to $550 million.
Qantas, which recently announced a $919 million acquisition of regional carrier Alliance Aviation (ASX: AQZ), also expects to return to underlying profit in FY23 following what Qantas describes as a “challenging restart for the industry globally”.
The announcement comes as Australians nationwide are gearing up for the July school holiday period. Qantas says it is better prepared for an influx in travellers next month, increasing ground handling staff by 15 per cent compared with the Easter holidays.
The airline also says it has recruited more than 1,000 operational team members for both Qantas and Jetstar since April, and it will have 20 per cent more team members on standby to minimise impacts of sick leave.
Meanwhile, in a sign of further international travel recovery, Qantas has been announcing new overseas services from Australian airports to popular tourist hotspots.
Today, the company announced new flights from Perth to Johannesburg and Jakarta set to take flight later this year.
The routes are the latest of eight new international services the national carrier has announced since Australian borders reopened in November 2021, with both Perth flights supported by the Western Australian Government’s Reconnect WA package.
Qantas will operate the only direct service from Perth to South Africa, running three return flights per week on its Airbus A330 aircraft to Johannesburg.
From 30 November, the Perth to Jakarta route will launch, reconnecting the two airports for the first time since March 2020 - beginning with three flights per week on a Boeing 737 aircraft.
“Western Australia has become an increasingly important part of our international network and we’re really excited to be launching two more routes from Perth,” Joyce said.
“International travel demand continues to rebound as people make up for two years of closed borders. Our direct flights from Perth to London and Rome are selling really strongly, which gives us the confidence to add new routes from our western hub.”
The addition of Johannesburg and Jakarta means Qantas will operate international flights from Perth to five destinations including London, Rome, and Singapore.
Since borders have reopened, Qantas has now announced eight new international routes, including Perth to Rome, Darwin to Dili, Sydney to Seoul and Bengaluru, and Melbourne to Delhi and Dallas.
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