The CEO of a major travel agency has criticized the decision not to allow Qatar to operate more flights to Australia, which would have made tickets cheaper for Australians.
Flight Center boss Graham “Skroo” Turner said the decision “hit the noses” of travelers, with the agency posting full-page ads protesting the decision.
Qatar Airways has been pushed back after the airline requested up to 29 additional flights each week from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Australians could have paid 40 per cent less for their flights had the Doha-based airline’s bid been approved.
Qantas had lobbied against the proposal, saying it would ‘distort the market’, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese siding with the airline, and his decision sparked outrage and sparked public attention over his relationship with Alan Joyce.
Flight Center advertisements protesting the rejection of Qatar’s offer read: “More seats bring prices down” and urged: “Let them fly”.
The airfare controversy comes amid growing unease over Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s privileged relationship with outgoing Qantas boss Alan Joyce, which has come under fire.
Qatar Airways’ request for up to 29 additional flights each week from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports has been rejected, denying passengers cheaper flights. The primary beneficiary was Qantas
According to some estimates, Australians could have paid 40% less for their flights if the Doha-based airline’s offer had been approved.
The adverts were endorsed by Mr Turner who attacked the government.
“It’s amazing how much this particular government decision has put the average Australian on their toes,” Mr Turner told the courier mail.
He said Flight Center’s advertising campaign would continue “unless the government took action” and reversed its controversial decision.
The government justified its rejection of Qatar Airways’ candidacy by “the national interest”.
The main beneficiary of this decision has been Qantas, whose reputation has never been so bad after repeated controversies, including the sale of tickets for canceled flights, delays, a shortage of staff and horror stories about the baggage management.
Qantas is facing a deceptive conduct case over ticket sales in Federal Court brought by Australia’s competition watchdog, which has also confirmed that the flag carrier is the country’s most criticized company.
But the government’s decision proved extremely unpopular not only with public opinion, but also with its own allies.
National Labor Party Chairman Wayne Swan has called for a review of the decision.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said prices would have fallen had Qatar been allowed to operate more flights.
Virgin Australia estimates that air fares could have fallen by up to 40 per cent had the decision been made the other way around.
The airfare controversy comes amid growing unease over the special relationship between Mr Albanese and Mr Joyce.
Mr Joyce, who has received bonuses of up to $10million, has overseen a steady decline in the national carrier’s reputation with the public, even though during a time when all airlines suffered when people stopped to travel due to the Covid pandemic.
Flight Centre’s advertising campaign would continue ‘unless the government takes action’ and reverse its controversial decision
The ACCC also confirmed that it “continues to receive more complaints about Qantas than about any other company” on the same day it announced its action in Federal Court.
Competition watchdog alleges Qantas ‘engaged in false, misleading or misleading conduct, in advertising tickets for more than 8,000 flights which it had already canceled but had not withdrawn sales”.
The ACCC says it continued to sell tickets for more than two weeks on average, and up to 47 days in some cases.
It is also alleged that the airline failed to notify existing ticket holders for 10,000 flights that they had been canceled for an average of 18 days, and up to 48 days, between May and July 2022.
This left customers with less time to make other arrangements and could have resulted in them paying higher prices.
Qantas canceled a quarter of its flights between May and July 2022, around 15,000, the watchdog said.
“As a result, we have commenced these proceedings alleging that Qantas continued to sell tickets for thousands of canceled flights, likely affecting the travel plans of tens of thousands of people,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.
“This case does not concern any alleged breach in relation to the actual cancellation of the flights, but rather concerns Qantas’ behavior following the cancellation of the flights.”
The ACCC seeks sanctions, injunctions, declarations and costs.
Mr. Joyce is due to retire at Qantas’ annual meeting of shareholders in November, a date which would allow him to celebrate his 15 years at the head of the group.
He faced heavy criticism in an intense row from politicians at a Senate hearing last week.
Labor MPs would not have liked to hear Mr Joyce confirm that he had been friends with Mr Albanese ‘for years’ during his questioning before the Senate Cost of Living Committee on Monday, with those two words effectively confirming how much point the two men are close. became.
During the hearing, Mr Joyce also refused to answer questions about his decision to offer the Prime Minister’s son a subscription to the prestigious Chairman’s Lounge and was asked if he was “embarrassed” by his salary of $24 million.
Faced with the reality of legal action in Federal Court, Qantas waived a controversial deadline that threatened to deprive passengers of flight credits worth $370 million.
Qantas customers had to refund their flights when they previously had to claim them by the end of December.
The huge backlog in travel credits accumulated during the Covid pandemic when flights were canceled around the world amid widespread border closures.
Passengers queue at Virgin Austr Australia’s Qantas airline has taken the drastic step of grounding its entire fleet indefinitely amid a labor dispute that escalated in 2011.
The ACCC said it “continues to receive more complaints about Qantas than against any other company” on the same day it announced a Federal Court action against the national carrier for selling tickets on canceled flights. Pictured is ACCC patron Gina Cass-Gottlieb
The ads were endorsed by Graham “Skroo” Turner, the travel giant’s global chief executive, who took on the government.
The cancellation will allow customers whose flights were canceled before October 2021 to retain flight credits indefinitely against a refund, Qantas confirmed on Thursday.
They are also offering a limited-time offer to double their Frequent Flyer points for flights booked with matching travel credits by December 31, 2023.
“Qantas Group will remove the expiry date for Covid travel credits which were due to expire at the end of this year,” a spokesperson said.
“Qantas customers with Covid credits can request a cash refund, and Jetstar customers can use their Covid vouchers for flights, indefinitely.