Qantas, the Australian airline, is facing scrutiny and legal action for allegedly selling tickets for flights that were later cancelled. The country’s competition watchdog plans to take the airline to court over these allegations. In a Senate inquiry, Flight Centre founder Graham Turner suggested that the airline’s actions were more likely a result of operational incompetence rather than a deliberate attempt to deceive customers. However, this accusation reflects poorly on the airline, its board, and former CEO Alan Joyce. Joyce, who recently left with a $20 million payout tied to his performance, should be grateful for Turner’s defense, as it presents a more palatable alternative to intentional wrongdoing.
Qantas has been under fire on multiple fronts recently. The Senate inquiry into the government’s decision to restrict additional flights from Qatar into the country has further exposed the airline to criticism. Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie accused Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder of presiding over “shocking corporate conduct.” Although she stopped short of calling for his resignation, her comments highlight growing discontent.
Experts, including Graham Turner and aviation economist Tony Webber, testified during the inquiry, pointing out the lack of competition in Australia’s airline market. Turner argued that allowing additional flights from Qatar would increase competition, resulting in lower fares. Webber estimated potential fare reductions of 7%. The inquiry also emphasized the cost of living issue for Australians, who have been paying 50% higher airfares post-COVID.
The government’s decision to block Qatar’s additional flights remains a subject of debate. While several witnesses speculated on possible motivations, no definitive answer was given. Although some insinuated Qantas’s influence in Canberra, there was no conclusive evidence to support this claim.
Source: This article is based on an article from The Sydney Morning Herald.