Flying kangaroo lowers its wheels

As Qantas braces for much smaller profits, technology is coming under increasing pressure to perform well.

Airlines feel a downturn faster than most businesses and for Qantas, 2009 has already been a very tough year. Passenger numbers fell 2.7 per cent across the Qantas group in March compared with 2008. The carrier announced in April that as a result of what it described as a "rapid and significant deterioration of trading conditions", it was revising down its full-year profit forecast from about A$500 million to somewhere between $100 million and $200 million.

The unprecedented market conditions have forced the airline to take some strong medicine, and many jobs, including an entire layer of management, have been cut.

Costs across the business are very much up for review in the run-up to the end of the financial year.

The man charged with running the ruler over the airline's IT operations is the new executive manager of corporate services and technology, David Hall.

Hall, who had previously worked as chief financial officer for Qantas' low-cost offshoot, Jetstar, joined the airline after the March "delayering" of executive ranks.

That process led to the departure of chief information officer Jamila Gordon, who herself had only been in the job 18 months.

In a move that surprised many. the chief information role disappeared along with Gordon.

Hall was invited across by his old boss at Jetstar, Alan Joyce, who moved to take the reins at Qantas last July.

In his new role, Hall now has carriage of IT, along with other responsibilities that include acting as chief of staff for Joyce and co-ordinating the airline's executive committee. Hall says his experience with information technology at Jetstar, where high-profile CIO Stephen Tame was his direct report, was one reason Joyce offered him the job with the flying kangaroo.

Read more at MIS Australia.