Qantas fires back against ‘slot hoarding’ claims

Qantas fires back against ‘slot hoarding’ claims

The national carrier has denied claims that it hoards a lion’s share of slots at Sydney Airport following comments that (along with Virgin Australia), the airline blocks competitors out of the market.

Sydney Airport CEO, Geoff Culbert has on multiple occasions accused both Qantas and Virgin of holding onto more slots than actually required, effectively blocking lower-cost competitors like REX and Bonza from using the airport.

In order to keep a slot, an airline must fly at least 80 per cent of the scheduled flights, or not cancel any more than 1/5 flights on the route.

Culbert claims that cancelling data on routes between Sydney and Melbourne and Sydney and Canberra highlights the major airlines were hoarding some slots.

June figures show Sydney to Melbourne was running at 81 per cent of pre-COVID numbers, while Sydney to Canberra currently lags behind at only 64 per cent.

During the same period, 8.4 per cent of flights on the SYD-MEL route were cancelled, along with 9.2 per cent on SYD-CAN.

Both Qantas and Virgin have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, turning the blame on Sydney Airport which they claim is frustrated over lost revenue.

A recent Qantas statement noted the Sydney Airport issue, though claims poor weather was a major factor in the cancelled flights.

“There does seem to be some misdirected frustration from Sydney Airport because they wish the system was different and they could unlock more revenue,” CEO, Qantas Domestic, Andrew David, said.

“We understand that, but we’re not sure demonising your biggest customer is the way to go about it.”

The federal government is set to release an aviation white paper next year. A key point of interest will be the comment on the current cap (80 flights per hour) at Sydney Airport which makes it difficult to recover from disruptions.

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