Following months of complaints, lost luggage, and cancelled and delayed flights, Qantas has apologised to its travellers for failing to live up to the expectations people have of the airline.
Qantas plans on responding to this by cutting flights and hiring more staff over the next few months.
The airline’s domestic and international CEO Andrew David spoke on Sydney radio 2GB where he acknowledged that the airline has been letting down its customers as it has been recovering from the COVID lockdown period.
“My apology to all your listeners,” David told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.
“We are the national carrier, people have high expectations of us, we have high expectations of ourselves and clearly over the last few months we have not been delivering what we did pre-COVID.”
David said that the lost luggage and flight cancellation rates were now getting back close to 2019 levels.
“We have reduced some of our flying this month and we’re planning to do the same next month, recognising the operation pressures we have.”
Qantas has been recruiting more staff lately with 1000 new people hired since Easter when airports around Australia were congested with eager travellers.
“As those staff get trained… then hopefully we can add that capacity back in that we’ve taken out to adjust for the operation pressures we’re under,” David said.
An issue plaguing Qantas right now is the fallout from illegally sacking 1600 baggage handlers during lockdown, which the airline is disputing.
“We disagree with that decision and we are appealing,” David said.
This issue has not abated as baggage handlers are seeking to take new industrial action which could heavily impact travellers all over the country.
According to the Transport Workers Union (TWU), the action is in protest of the efforts by Dnata, the company which Qantas contracted for ground workers, to introduce an agreement that would effectively cut workers’ pay and bring in below-award minimum conditions.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said “overworked, exhausted workers” at Dnata have struggled over the past two years with no financial support.
“Rosters are severely understaffed, the most experienced workers are facing pay cuts while conditions are below award minimums,” Kaine said.
“Qantas has become Australia’s worst-performing airline in recent months, with understaffing of airport jobs causing delays, cancellations and lost luggage.
“Dnata has struggled to fill vacant positions because of low pay and casual, part-time work but rather than lift standards or guarantee workers more hours… Dnata tried to bring in overseas workers,” he said.
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