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What is the 'phantom flight' scandal for which Qantas is being forced to pay a hefty fine?

Mea culpa.

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What is the 'phantom flight' scandal for which Qantas is being forced to pay a hefty fine?

Mea culpa. The affair had provoked the ire of travelers of the main Australian airline: the carrier Qantas admitted “having deceived consumers” by announcing seats on tens of thousands of flights when they had been canceled, according to the Commission Australian Competition and Consumer Affairs. The company will have to pay a fine of $66 million and $13 million in compensation to passengers who were victims of these “ghost flights”, canceled or poorly rescheduled, the Australian competition watchdog said on Monday.

In detail, the $13 million in compensation will be paid to 86,000 travelers affected by cancellations or botched rescheduling, according to this source. “Qantas’ conduct was unacceptable,” said commission chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb. “Many consumers will have made holiday, business and travel plans after booking a ghost flight that had been cancelled,” she lamented. Qantas admitted that in some cases customers had booked flights that had been canceled “two days or more” previously.

Also read “A hell of a robbery”: these very secret negotiations between the DGAC and air traffic controllers which made it possible to ward off strike threats

New Qantas chief executive Vanessa Hudson admitted the airline had “let customers down and failed to follow its own rules”. “We know that many of our customers have been affected by our failure to provide timely cancellation notifications and we are sincerely sorry,” it said in a statement. Long nicknamed "the spirit of Australia", the 103-year-old national airline Qantas is on a mission to restore its image after facing a backlash from consumers following the scandal, the surge in ticket prices and the layoff of 1,700 ground staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The former CEO of the airline Qantas, Alan Joyce, announced his early retirement in September. Qantas' net profit fell 13.2% year-on-year to A$869 million (€526 million) in the second half of 2023, although the company said customer satisfaction had improved under the impetus from Vanessa Hudson.

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