2. Situational Analysis

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Business Studies Qantas Case Study

2. Situational Analysis

Swot Analysis of Qantas

  • Extensive network / part of the One world alliance

  • Excellent airport locations and facilities

  • Globally recognised brand name and logo

  • Excellent safety record – probably the best in the world (not one death on a Qantas flight)

  • Operational excellence: Qantas has twice won the Cumberbatch trophy for engineering excellence.


  • Speculation that British airways will quit its $1.3 billion stake in Qantas.

  • Higher labour and other operating costs than its competitors

  • An ongoing disputes between Qantas management and militant unions



  • Strategies of its main competitors especially Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand (international) and Virgin Blue (domestic)

  • Increase in government regulations to protect its smaller rivals

  • Rising fuel costs

  • Further fall in Australian dollar

  • Further weakening in the international market / economy

As a result of Ansett’s collapse, Qantas is currently in the growth stage domestically (with increased sales, revenue and market share) but in the decline stage internationally. In response Qantas has planned to hire more staff and increase the Qantas fleet by 15% by long-term leases and purchasing new aircraft. Also by establishing a discount airline called Australian Airlines.

3. Marketing Objectives
Being a public company listed on the ASX, Qantas’s main marketing objective is profit, both in the current and long-term periods. Its goal is to provide a satisfactory return to shareholders and to generate enough profit in reserve to fund growth and the gaining of new aircraft.
Qantas’s other marketing objectives include the following:

  • Increased sales of passenger tickets

  • Increased market share in the airline industry

  • Growth / new routes, and corporate size as there are cost advantages in being bigger

  • Decreased operating costs, especially labour costs.

4. Marketing Strategies

Market Segmentation and Selection of the Target Market
Market segmentation is the process is the process of dividing up the total range of potential or current into smaller discrete groups to facilitate analysis and planning. This enables Qantas to:

  • Better meet the needs of all its customers, to compete more effectively and to attain financial goals more readily

  • Better tune the marketing mix to particular groups in the market, so the product can be refined, prices set, place of sale determined and promotion better focused for each market segment. EG: Economy, Business and First Class travellers.

Qantas’s market segmentation is complex because each segment has distinctive and different needs and expectations, such as the desire for stopovers, the ability to pay fare levels and expectations in terms of in-flight service and comfort.

Qantas mainly uses behavioural segmentation to select its target markets. Buyers are distinguished according to trip purpose, for example: business and leisure / non-business travellers.
However, there are many reasons for travelling either business or leisure.
The business segment is broken down even further into routine business (normal point to point business travel), conferences / seminars and emergency business which reflects passenger needs and benefits sought.
The leisure segment is broken down into holiday (inclusive of tour segment, multi-destination touring segment and weekender segment) and visiting friends a relatives.

Formulating the Marketing Mix: The 4 P’s

  1. Product

As the airline industry has become much more competitive, airlines like Qantas have focussed on product planning. Qantas designs products to attract and hold customers from a particular market segment and to do so profitably.

The generic products of Qantas are the provisions of a seat (passenger) or a container (freight).
The passenger side of the product:

  • Scheduling’s basic features: time of departure or arrival, number of stops or direct flights and the aircraft type. In November 2000 announced that it would spend $4.6 billion on new planes over a 10 year period including the purchase of Airbus 380

Qantas enhances its basic product by having the best connecting airline on a preferred basis with its One World alliance.

A $300million Total Entertainment in-flight system is currently being installed on the Qantas international fleet. On 14th February 2002, Qantas announced q $50 million lounge upgrade. Qantas is also installing self serve kiosks from mid 2002 which will allow customers to cheek in and choose a seat in less than one minute.

  • The Qantas Frequent Flyer Scheme (FFS) with more than 2.6 million members and over 100 programme partners is used by Qantas to retain customers, increase market share and fill otherwise empty seats. The Qantas FFS also provides a large database of specific customer information thereby providing additional valuable direct marketing opportunities.

Qantas re-launched its programme globally in September 2001 offering a minimum of 1000 points for any flight, the removal of the five-year expiry period and other benefits. On 12th November Qantas launched Qantas flight Upgrade that sends the departure times to frequent flyer customers using mobile phone short text messages.

The freight product is enhanced by Qantas’s handling efficiency, routing and frequency.
Qantas freight has recently launched two new Internet tracking facilities: “follow me tracking” that enables customers to receive regular status updates on their freight shipments. Secondly “City to City tracking” Which enables customers to receive automatic status updates on a pre-defined group of airway bills nominated by the user.

  • Other aspects of the product for Qantas include:

    • Intangible benefits such as its history and safety record; and

    • Brand name: Qantas is one of Australia’s leading brand names and it is a powerful marketing tool. The brand name, kangaroo symbol and logo, “Spirit of Australia”, clearly identifying and distinguishes it from its competitors.

Qantas is increasingly developing the whole airline as a corporate brand along with a corporate personality.

  1. Price

Price is the crucial element in any marketing plan. Price is the variable, which can be changed quickly and as often as required. In the past prices were regulated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and two Airlines Agreement which had a formula for all fares based on flag fall and distance.

Price methods used by Qantas include a combination of:

  • Cost plus margin: Qantas determines the cost of production and then adds a margin for profit.

  • Market: the market, where the demand is matched with supply, determines most fares at Qantas.

  • Competition based: watch what other airlines such as Virgin Blue are doing.

Since the Ansett collapse, Qantas domestic flights have been influenced by a lack of competition. They are not forced to be competitive as earlier in 2001 when Ansett was the second carrier along with Impulse. Qantas will face more competition now that Virgin Blue and Patrick Corporation have merged. Qantas still face serious competition on its international routes. Pricing strategies employed by Qantas include:

  • Price penetration: Qantas will use such a strategy for its new low cost Asian Airline to be launched this year as Australian Airlines. Qantas will initially charge the lowest possible price for this service.

  • Full Fares: for those waiting flexibility (important for business travellers) as full fares can be refunded and changed.

  • Promotional Fares: these are not advertised as a discount on the full fare i.e. 20% off, but are quoted as a price. They are usually offered in the economy cabin at times of subdued demand of to match competitors.

Other promotional fares can be conditional such as:

  • Minimum stay away: minimum stay of seven days and the Saturday night away rule. These are unattractive to business travellers who want to stay away during the weekdays only

  • Departure time limitations: defines the period of departure, which allows Qantas to offer low cost fares outside peak demand periods.

  • Packages are sold as part of an inclusive holiday, which includes hotels, meals and transfers.

  • Loss leading: Qantas in the past has entered new routes and introduced low fares to gain initial market share.

  1. Promotion

Promotion is the means by which an organization communicates its products and its image to the customer.

Promotional strategies include:

  1. Advertising: Qantas uses advertising agencies to create media advertisements in television, radio, magazines, newspapers, brochures, posters in travel agencies and billboards. Qantas is using less blanket advertising and more direct marketing, which is cheaper and very targeted especially to corporations. The disadvantage of media (blanket) advertisements is that many people receiving the message are not the target market unless that advertising is purely for image or brand recognition.

  2. Sales promotions particularly in periods of subdued demand

  3. Personal selling based on sales representatives who sell directly to travel agents, businesses and government departments.

  4. Publicity to enhance the image of Qantas includes new releases, feature articles, press conferences and interviews. They also sponsor a number of sports such as rugby union and swimming and netball. They also sponsor environmental causes such as clean up Australia day, and charities such as CARE Australia, Star Light Children’s Fund and World vision, and cultural activities like the Art Gallery of NSW.

  1. Place

The product must be easy to border the purchase, no matter how good the product, the selling will be controlled. Distribution to end customers is achieved by Qantas in two main ways, direct and indirect:

    1. Direct (sale of products direct to the customer)

      • Direct sales via its own retail outlets. Qantas has a network of wholly owned Qantas Travel Centres called Qantas Holidays (the largest travel wholesaler in Australia).

      • Telephone sales centres;

      • The Internet is emerging as a significant (LOW COST) channel for promotional fares.

    1. Indirect (using intermediaries)

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