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Qantas Settles ‘Ghost Flight’ Case: Agrees to A$100 Million Penalty and Compensation Plan

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  • In addition to the penalty, Qantas will launch a compensation plan valued at up to A$20 million to address affected passengers.
  • She emphasized the company’s overhaul of processes and investments in technology to prevent similar issues in the future.

Australia’s leading airline, Qantas, has reached a settlement agreeing to pay a penalty of A$100 million ($66.1 million, £52.7 million) to resolve a legal dispute accusing it of selling numerous tickets for flights that had already been canceled.

In addition to the penalty, Qantas will launch a compensation plan valued at up to A$20 million to address affected passengers. Vanessa Hudson, Qantas’ Chief Executive, emphasized that this step is crucial in rebuilding trust in the national carrier.

The case, dubbed the “ghost flight” scandal, was initiated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in August. It alleged that Qantas had sold tickets for flights that had been canceled for several weeks in some instances.

The agreement between Qantas and the ACCC is subject to approval by the Federal Court of Australia. As per the plan, customers who purchased tickets for flights canceled two or more days in advance will be eligible for compensation. Qantas has specified amounts of A$225 for domestic flights and A$450 for international tickets.

Ms. Hudson acknowledged the airline’s failure to meet customer expectations following the Covid shutdown and highlighted efforts to restore Qantas’ reputation since her appointment last year. She emphasized the company’s overhaul of processes and investments in technology to prevent similar issues in the future.

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ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb expressed satisfaction with Qantas’ acknowledgment of misleading customers and the significant penalty agreed upon.

Upon assuming leadership, Ms. Hudson succeeded Alan Joyce, who navigated Qantas through challenges like the 2008 financial crisis, the pandemic, and soaring fuel prices. However, upon Mr. Joyce’s departure in 2023, Qantas faced mounting criticism over high airfares, widespread delays and cancellations, and its treatment of employees.

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