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Qantas CEO Retires, Replaced by Jetstar CEO Joyce

Qantas Airways Chief Executive named Alan Joyce as its new chief executive on Monday, with Geoff Dixon retiring after eight years heading Australia's largest airline.

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Joyce, head of Qantas's low-cost subsidiary Jetstar, will take over when Dixon steps down after the annual shareholder meeting in November, Qantas said. Dixon has been chief executive since 2000. Joyce, 42, will join the board on Monday.

"Geoff and Alan will work together over the next four months to ensure a smooth transition and continuity," said Qantas Chairman Leigh Clifford. "Alan is, we believe, the best person to take Qantas forward in what is a very challenging environment," he said.

Qantas said on July 18 it would cut 4 percent of its workforce, the airline's fifth belt-tightening in three months as fuel prices soar.

The world's airlines stand to lose more than $6 billion this year if fuel costs remain at current levels, the International Air Transport Association estimated recently.

Joyce has worked in aviation for 20 years and was appointed CEO of Jetstar in October 2003. He spent around 15 years in leadership positions at Qantas, as well as at the now defunct Australian airline Ansett and Ireland's Aer Lingus, where he spent eight years.

Qantas shares, which traded above A$6 in October last year, closed Friday at A$3.49.

Qantas was ordered on Sunday to check all oxygen bottles on its fleet of Boeing 747s after investigators said an exploding oxygen bottle might have ripped a hole in a Qantas 747, forcing it to make an emergency landing at Manila on Friday.