Start-ups pick new leaders

Discount start-ups in Australia and New Zealand have picked their chief executives. Alan Joyce has become executive general manager of a new domestic discount unit at Qantas, while Tony Marks will head Pacific Blue, the New Zealand affiliate of Australia's Virgin Blue.

Joyce ran the feasibility study at Qantas for its yet-unnamed airline, due to launch in May. He joined Qantas in 2001 after working at Aer Lingus and Ansett Australian. With a background in fleet and network planning, Joyce was involved in the low-cost strategy at Aer Lingus. Former Ryanair executives will help him launch the carrier as a separate business unit of Qantas.

Joyce will decide on the airline's name, brand, advertising and location.

Fleet choices are imminent between the Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A320. The new carrier plans to have at least 23 aircraft by mid-2005, but that may include 14 Boeing 717s that Qantas acquired when it took over Impulse Airlines and renamed that operation as QantasLink. The unit will likely absorb QantasLink, but it is unclear whether it will focus on domestic leisure markets or compete with Virgin Blue for discount traffic on trunk routes.

Tony Marks has left Origin Pacific, New Zealand's number two carrier, to lead Pacific Blue. The Christchurch-based affiliate to Virgin Blue plans to launch trans-Tasman flights in late January. Before becoming Origin's chief executive last March, Marks spent nine years in senior management at Air New Zealand.


Source: Airline Business