Qantas CEO invites 10-year-old rival airline CEO to strategy meeting

Alex Jacquot said he wanted to be taken seriously.
Alex Jacquot said he wanted to be taken seriously. Photo credit: Twitter/Qantas.

Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas, has done what very few in the airline industry would do - give advice to a possible competitor.

The long-time airline boss responded to a letter from 10-year-old Alex Jacquot, inviting him to a strategy meeting at the Qantas headquaters.

Jacquot told Joyce he was well into the process of setting up his own airline and wanted some advice on what to do next.

"I have already started some stuff like what type of planes I'll need, flight numbers, catering and more. I'm the CEO of the airline, which by the way, is called Oceania Express," Alex said.

In the handwritten letter shared on Qantas' social media, the boy said he wanted to be taken seriously, despite his age.

He also said he had hired a CFO, an IT expert, a head of maintenance, an onboard services manager and a head of legal. 

Jacquot had three questions he wanted to put to Mr Joyce.

Firstly, he asked what he should be doing to get the airline off the ground.

"I like working on my airline. Seeing as it is the school holidays, I have more time to work, but I don't have anything to do (that I can think of). Do you have any ideas of what I can do?"

As well as asking for general tips about how he should set up the airline, he also displayed his industry knowledge, asking Joyce about Qantas' plan to operate a non-stop flight from Sydney to London.

"I'm thinking, as you are, about an A350 for Sydney/Melbourne to London flights. Seeing as it is a 25-hour flight, we are having a lot of trouble thinking about sleep. Do you have any advice?"

In his response, the Qantas CEO welcomed Oceania Airlines into the market.

"Thank you for letting me know about your new airline. I had heard some rumours of another entrant in the market," said Joyce.

He went on to say he too was a child who dreamed of running an airline, and was happy to give advice.

"My number one tip for starting an airline is to put safety front and centre. And do everything you can do to make travel as comfortable and affordable as possible for your passengers."

Joyce also extended an invitation to the budding CEO to have a top level meeting at Qantas headquarters about the airline's plan to operate its non-stop Sydney to London service.