The media can’t seem to make up its mind about Qantas Airways, the small Australian carrier that has been regarded a kind of “underdog” to big-shot airline companies such as Virgin Airlines. One instant Qantas is being lauded for its title of “safest airline in the world,” and the next, it’s being dismissed and downgraded by publications that are more enthralled by Virgin’s hip approach to air travel.
As USA Today reports, “Qantas Airways has earned the distinction of being the safest airline in the world after going without a fatal crash since 1951,” a fact that seems to get easily shadowed by the impressive marketing campaigns of larger, more popular international airlines. According to BBC Business news, the company’s domestic profits suffered tremendously last year, and that its international operations have been struggling for some time, due to factors that include higher fuel costs, subdued travel demand, as well as the increase in competition.
Some of Qantas’s current troubles lie in international credit ratings reports, like a downgrade from Standard & Poor, and this negative outlook report from Moody’s. Chief Executive Officer Ray McDaniel heads Moody’s, a widely acknowledged investor’s service that recently downgraded Qantas because of the pressure from Virgin Airlines. According to Moody’s, a “sharp deterioration in the company’s core domestic business” was a leading factor in the downgrade from a Baa3 rating to a Ba2.
It’s no secret that Virgin has become a formidable presence among rival commercial airlines. The brand is widely known, offers a fresh take on air travel, and features popular amenities; many Virgin Airlines customers have been known to praise its service, entertainment options, and affordable international flight fares. Still, Qantas has been a consistent, accommodating, and incredibly safe option for travelers for decades. Here’s to hoping that Qantas, a reliable underdog, will make a comeback soon.