The recent mid-air drama of Qantas Airlines flight QF30 from Hong Kong to Melbourne illustrates the impact safety issues can have on reputation risk. A two metre hole was ripped from the side of the fuselage forcing an emergency landing in Manilla. The airline's key brand value has long been one of the world's safest airline, having never lost an aircraft. Indeed, the reported near US$100m spent on recovering a 747 Qantas aircraft that skidded off a runway after landing in Bangkok in 1999 during heavy rain demonstrates the airline's financial risk tolerance for protecting the brand. While public venues and events do not leverage in the same way on their safety record in their marketing, it is still an important value to the public when attending public venues or events. This latest Qantas incident does demonstrate the link between potential brand erosion and safety incidents for an organisation.
This incident along with other recent economic pressures will serve as a telling time for our national carrier. Only time will tell as to the financial impact that this will have on the airline's financial performance.