No one – least of all us – can be surprised that Qantas is playing a role in a questionable junket in service of the global aviation industry. There have been many junkets before – some with AFR journalists – and there will be many in the future.
But the conference in question is an eight-hour “media day”. That is, Qantas is flying two journalists across the world for a conference that starts at 8:45am and ends at 4:45pm. The next day they get back on planes and come home.
From the same people who brought you “meetings that could have been an email”, IATA and Qantas present “conferences that could have been a Zoom call”.
Adding airborne irony to the whole affair is that the main session of the whole shebang is on sustainable aviation fuel, noise and slots.
Carting journalists off to a closed-door one-day conference in Switzerland would be silly enough. To then talk about sustainability and aviation fuel shows these industry types are high on their own hot air.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation allows people to calculate carbon emissions on overseas flights. Its carbon emissions’ calculator suggests for example that two people travelling premium economy return on the Sydney >Singapore > London > Geneva route are responsible for 7000 kgs of CO2 emissions. Very sustainable!
Qantas defended this silly use of resources by telling us this was all above board because the journalists’ emissions on these flights would be offset under its carbon program.
The company has dwindling numbers of friends in the media. So Qantas under Hudson appears to have again turned to the only page in its playbook that reliably works: favours.