Strategic Touch Down
The eagle has landed and the verdict is in. Strategic Airline touched down in Gladstone this morning and passengers gave the first flight a big thumbs up.
“Fantastic,” said Nick Gifford of the service. He was also happy with the scheduling. “It’s a good time for us to fly, (because we are working today.)”
Jack Worcester was delighted with the bargain prices on offer. “We managed to fly business class, because it was the same price as flying economy on Qantas,” he said.
Passengers were excited about the prospect of genuine competition between Strategic and Qantas.
“I think it’s going to be a great alternative for passengers (flying between Gladstone and Brisbane,)” said Steve Pettit.
When asked if the airline’s lower prices had caused lower service standards, Mr Pettit was emphatic. “Not at all,” he said. “It was at least as good and in some (aspects) it was better. The service was friendlier first up in the morning.”
Another satisfied customer was Louisa Burfield. “It was really good,” she said. “And it was really cheap. I paid a lot to get down to Brisbane (with Qantas), but it was really cheap to come back up (with Strategic.) The service was exactly the same.”
Lynette Spencer said it would make life easier for locals who need to travel. “It will be great for the community,” she said. “The service was polite and friendly.”
“Brilliant,” said Aaron Batterson. "It sure beats (other) low cost carriers.” Mr Batterson said all the staff were friendly and smiling.
Not surprisingly, Strategic made a special occasion of its first Gladstone arrival and Managing Director Michael James said he was glad to hear the word “friendly” used by so many customers.
“We aim to ensure that our customers have that experience,” he said. “I think it comes from the company itself, (because) if our staff our happy, our passengers will usually be happy.”
“It’s been ignored too long,” he said of the potential for another airline in Gladstone. He said the decision to establish a presence in the revamped airport needed to be based on economics and he was confident the move will prove sustainable.
“(We’d be) mad not to look at these opportunities.”
Competition between the two airlines is ready to take off. While Strategic was celebrating its latest venture this morning, Qantas went on the front foot, announcing an additional 8 flights between Gladstone and Brisbane every week.