Australian regulator accuses Qantas of selling tickets for cancelled flights

Qantas Airways

faces legal action by Australia’s competition regulator over allegations that the carrier sold thousands of tickets for flights it knew had been cancelled.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Thursday said it had launched legal proceedings in the country’s Federal Court over Qantas’s behavior relating to more than 10,000 cancelled flights between May and July 2022.

The ACCC alleges that the company kept selling tickets for more than 8,000 flights for an average of more than two weeks after cancellation. In some cases the delay was 47 days, the ACCC alleges.

The carrier failed to notify ticketholders for more than 10,000 flights of cancellations for an average of 18 days, or as long as 48 days.

“We allege that Qantas’s conduct in continuing to sell tickets to cancelled flights, and not updating ticketholders about cancelled flights, left customers with less time to make alternative arrangements and may have led to them paying higher prices to fly at a particular time not knowing that flight had already been cancelled,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

Qantas, which last week reported an annual profit of 1.75 billion Australian dollars (US$1.13 billion), said that its approach to cancellations was consistent with those of other airlines. It said that the period examined by the ACCC reflected the ramp-up in industry activity following long-running Covid-related disruptions.

“All airlines were experiencing well-publicized issues from a very challenging restart, with ongoing border uncertainty, industry wide staff shortages and fleet availability causing a lot of disruption,” Qantas said.

The carrier said it will examine the allegations and respond to them in court.

Qantas last week launched a fresh share buyback of A$500 million after swinging back to annual profit for the first time since fiscal 2019. It racked up statutory losses of more than A$4.5 billion across the three fiscal years through June 2022.

Read more from source