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Qantas Settles ‘Ghost Flights’ Case With Australian Watchdog for $120 Million

 |  May 6, 2024

Qantas, Australia’s flagship airline, has reached a significant settlement with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) following revelations that it continued to advertise and sell tickets for flights that had already been cancelled for a much longer period than initially thought, dubbed “ghost flights.” The settlement, totaling $120 million in penalties and compensation, marks the conclusion of a Federal Court case initiated by the ACCC last year.

The controversy stemmed from allegations that Qantas had sold tickets for approximately 8,000 flights that were cancelled between May and July 2022. However, upon further investigation, it was discovered that the airline had actually continued to sell tickets for these non-existent flights until legal action was taken by the ACCC in August of the same year. This prolonged period of ticket sales affected a staggering 86,000 customers.

Read more: Australia’s ACCC Seeks Massive Fine for Qantas Violations

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson, who assumed her role earlier than planned amidst the fallout from the ghost flights allegations, emphasized that the decision to settle the case was not driven by the recent revelations but rather by the airline’s commitment to transparency and accountability. In an interview on Monday, Hudson stated, “We absolutely were always focused on bringing this to a conclusion. Part of the focus that we have as an organization is around being transparent and taking accountability.”

Despite the settlement, Qantas maintains its stance that it did not accept fees for services it did not provide. Hudson reiterated this, stating, “We absolutely have maintained and continue to maintain that we did not take fees for no service, that we would not take fees for no service, and that the ACCC is no longer proceeding with this part of its claim.”

As part of the settlement agreement, Qantas has agreed to pay $100 million in penalties to the ACCC and an additional $20 million in compensation to the 86,000 affected customers. However, the settlement is subject to approval by the Federal Court.

Source: SMH