Qantas flies in McKinsey to help address flight delays

28 January 2024 3 min. read

McKinsey & Company has joined Boston Consulting Group in supporting recent efforts to restore Qantas’ one-time stellar reputation, with the strategy consultancy brought in to help address damaging flight delays.

Global consulting giant McKinsey & Company has been brought in by Qantas on an operations overhaul according to the AFR, joining MBB rival Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as recent advisors to the airline as it battles a torrent of negative sentiment.

Indeed, McKinsey’s engagement, which will focus on improving on-time performance, may well have flowed on from BCG’s efforts to help repair Qantas’ relationship with its customers.

Qantas flies in McKinsey to help address flight delays

A long-time Qantas advisor, BCG was brought in in September under the new Vanessa Hudson era following the departure of Alan Joyce as CEO and a series of indiscretions which saw a rapid dive in the airline’s public reputation, the consultancy tasked with devising strategies to remove “customer pain points” and make dealing with the airline easier.

Qantas has also since brought in PwC’s Catherine Walsh as its first ever Chief People Officer.

According to sources of the AFR, both consultancies were asked to pitch for the fresh work, with the airline confirming that McKinsey had been selected for the three-month contract which aims to improve departure and arrival puntuality despite Qantas recently boasting that its 74% on-time departure rate was the best of the major domestic carriers last year. The figure, the airline added, was a near five-point improvement on the year prior.

Yet, while also representing a seven-point gap on Virgin, the 2023 numbers remain well down on pre-Covid levels, with Qantas acknowledging that there was still “significant room for improvement in absolute terms”. Amid challenging weather conditions, the airline also said its key customer satisfaction metric (the net promoter score devised at Bain & Company) had more than doubled for domestic flights from November to December.

“Additional investments in operational reliability and customer experience, rolling out progressively since being announced in September, are starting to improve the journey of millions of passengers,” the flag carrier stated. “Those investments include having more spare aircraft on standby, improvements to catering, introduction of baggage tracking via the Qantas app and changes to customer recovery when flights are significantly disrupted.”

Said to be led by McKinsey’s digital & analytics practice senior lead partner Jonathan Michael, the engagement will reportedly look into a range of Qantas’ divisions including operations, finance, and customer service with a view to worldwide best practices. Among other airlines, McKinsey has previously worked with leading carriers Air France and Cathay Pacific on turnarounds, along with providing strategic consultancy for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.