High dollar still a challenge for Qantas
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PERTH, Feb 6 AAP
February 06 2013, 7:40PM
The strong Australian dollar continues to be a challenge for Qantas as it competes globally for tourism business.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline had experienced a hectic period as it implemented its management restructure and confirmed its strategic direction.
This included a tie-up with one of the world's largest international airlines, Emirates.
"We all find the high Australian dollar a challenge, Qantas no less than anyone," Mr Joyce told the Tourism and Transport Forum in Sydney on Wednesday.
"We keep calling it the high Australian dollar, when now it is the normal Australian dollar.
"Yes, it puts pressure on all of us to be competitive in a global context."
Mr Joyce said the strength of the local currency should never be used as an excuse for not winning tourism business.
"Many of the great destinations around the world - London, New York, Paris - have historically had high-value currencies, yet tourism has thrived," he said.
The airline, whose international operations have been struggling with hefty losses, says its partnership with Emirates represents a seismic shift for global aviation.
Mr Joyce anticipates dramatic changes and competitive responses, both strategic and tactical, in the months ahead as Qantas prepares to fly to Europe via Dubai from April.
"We have factored these in, and we are very comfortable with, where we are positioned for the future," Mr Joyce said.
He said that Qantas was confident that Boeing would resolve technical issues that had arisen with its B787 Dreamliners, which were expected to be delivered later this year.
"Ultimately we have every confidence in this aircraft, which will greatly improve the customer experience and lower our operating costs."