Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says he's the right man for the job of overseeing the tough measures needed to return the airline to profit.
He said their plan to axe 5,000 jobs, defer buying or sell aircraft and cut unprofitable routes would produce $2 billion savings and return Qantas to profitability in just three years.
Announcing Qantas results on Thursday, Mr Joyce revealed a $235 million loss.
But he rejected suggestions from, among others Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, that he should hand the job over to someone who could turn a profit.
"I have been CEO for five years and we have been profitable for most of that period of time and I believe I am the right person to make sure that we take this company through the challenges that we face," he told ABC TV.
Mr Joyce said the company faced severe challenges but there was a plan to turn the business around.
He said both sides recognised that Qantas was operating in a distorted market, a view shared by Treasurer Joe Hockey who acknowledged the Qantas Sale Act was impacting the company's ability to compete.
As well, Mr Hockey said, Qantas was competing against other state-owned airlines and Australia had an interest in having a national carrier.
Qantas was also taking steps to get its house in order, Mr Hockey said.
Mr Joyce rejected suggestions from some analysts that the company still hadn't taken the really tough decisions to cut unprofitable routes.
"But we have," he said.
"Every route that is left generates cash for us."
"If people do not believe they are the tough decisions needed to turn the business around, they are not paying attention to this business."
Mr Joyce said all the airline wanted was a fair go and that was not happening at the moment.
Competitor Virgin was allowed investment by three foreign government-owned airline partners to continue losses on Australian routes.
Mr Joyce said Qantas gave no assurance of keeping jobs in Australia in return for a government debt guarantee.
"The best way to guarantee the security of Qantas jobs is to have a profitable fit Qantas that can compete in the environment it's in," he said.
Mr Joyce said there were two issues - making internal changes to cut costs and levelling the playing field, either through a debt guarantee or amending the Qantas Sale Act.
He said the government was aware it needed to act soon.
But he's yet to hear from them on Thursday's announcement.
"The government has always been very clear that it's up to Qantas to manage its own business and we have had no dialogue about what this plan entails ... about getting government acceptance for it any way."