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Qantas agrees to pay $66M in penalty over ‘ghost flight’ sales lawsuit

Qantas has agreed to pay AUD 100 million ($66 million) in civil penalty to resolve the court proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) against the carrier over sale of canceled flights.

The ACCC took legal action against the Australian flag carrier in August 2023 for the airline’s advertisement and sale of tickets for flights it had already canceled. 

The ACCC alleged that Qantas continued to sell tickets to passengers between May and July 2022 for more than 8,000 flights for an average of two weeks, and in some cases for up to 47 days, after their cancellation.

In October 2023, Qantas said that while “mistakes were made”, the ACCC’s legal case “ignores the realities of the aviation industry”, saying that airlines cannot guarantee specific flight times.

The airline rejected the notion of selling ‘ghost’ or canceled flights, saying that all customers who bought tickets for the canceled flights were offered an alternative flight or refund, and that there was no “fee for no service”. The carrier also removed the canceled flights from sale immediately.

On May 6, 2024, a settlement between Qantas and ACCC was finally reached, and under the agreement, the airline will commence a projected AUD 20 million ($13 million) remediation program for impacted passengers, with payments to customers ranging from AUD 225 to AUD 450 ($150 – $300) ,and subject to the approval of the Federal Court of Australia, will pay a AUD 100 million ($66 million) civil penalty.

The Qantas Group has today announced an agreement with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to resolve court proceedings in relation to flight cancellation processes.

— Qantas (@Qantas) May 5, 2024

“Today represents another important step forward as we work towards restoring confidence in the national carrier,” Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson said in a statement.

“When flying resumed after the COVID shutdown, we recognize Qantas let down customers and fell short of our own standards. We know many of our customers were affected by our failure to provide cancellation notifications in a timely manner and we are sincerely sorry. The return to traveling was already stressful for many and we did not deliver enough support for customers and did not have the technology and systems in place to support our people,” Hudson continued, adding that the airline has  updated its processes and is investing in new technology to ensure the situation does not occur again.

“We thank the ACCC for their cooperation in reaching this outcome, which means we can compensate affected customers much sooner than if the case had continued in the Federal Court. We are focused on making the remediation process as quick and seamless as possible for customers,” Hudson said.

The post Qantas agrees to pay $66M in penalty over ‘ghost flight’ sales lawsuit appeared first on AeroTime.

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