The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price continues to struggle to find solid ground under its wheels amid its scandalous route.
Today, shares in the Aussie airline are meekly moving, trading 1.2% lower to $5.10 in the morning. The disappointing performance is playing out as key Qantas personnel are set to face another day of inquisition by the Senate.
Amid the barrage of turmoil, Qantas shares have slipped closer to setting a new 52-week low.
The weakness could be exacerbated by the company's first downgrade yesterday. Analysts at CLSA tagged The Flying Kangaroo with a sell rating, accompanying Citi's 10% cut to its Qantas share price target.
A few weeks ago, I collated the cacophony of damaging events unfolding at the stricken airline. As the drama began to boil, former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce decided to pull the pin and announce an early retirement.
However, waving goodbye to the top job has not been enough to ditch the baggage.
Senators had summoned Joyce — alongside Qantas chair Richard Goyder, and newly crowned Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson — to answer questions on aviation landing rights. However, Joyce's lawyers said he was unable to attend due to "personal obligations" outside the country.
Addressing the matter, Senator Bridget McKenzie noted:
The senate committees have the power to summon witnesses within Australia but have no enforceable powers for witnesses who are overseas.
Nonetheless, McKenzie made it clear that the committee would summon Joyce for questioning upon returning to Australia.
The inquiry into Qatar Airway's denial of operating more flights in Australia will today see representatives from Virgin Australia, Regional Express Holdings Ltd (ASX: REX), and budget airline newcomer Bonza.
Virgin Australia has been vocal in pointing out the perception of preferential treatment toward Qantas in light of the government's decision to block additional Qatar flights. The delisted airliner operates in conjunction with Qatar Airways through a codeshare agreement.
Why is the Qantas share price still grounded?
Despite the cascading share price, some analysts still believe it won't be taking off from here.
As my colleague Tony Yoo noted, Shaw and Partners portfolio manager James Gerrish is choosing not to board this opportunity. Gerrish highlighted that Qantas will likely need to spend a lot of money on rebuilding its brand, creating a significant headwind moving forward.
On the other hand, analysts at Jefferies still hold a buy rating on the Qantas share price. However, the broker recently cut its price target from $8.78 to $7.79.