QANTAS: Senat hearing for CEO Alan Joyce

SYDNEY – Qantas CEO Alan Joyce faced a grilling from a Senate committee on Monday over the airline’s high airfare costs and travel credit refunds. The committee questioned Joyce about why Qantas was charging more than its competitors for domestic flights, especially in regional areas, and why it was taking so long to process refunds for customers who had their flights canceled due to COVID-19.

Joyce defended Qantas’s pricing strategy, saying that it was based on supply and demand and that the airline was offering competitive fares in most markets. He said that Qantas had invested heavily in its regional network, adding new routes and aircraft and that it was not making excessive profits from its customers. He also said that Qantas was working hard to clear the backlog of refunds, which had reached over $2 billion at one point, and that it had refunded or rebooked 95% of its customers.

The committee was not satisfied with Joyce’s answers and accused him of exploiting Qantas’s market dominance and taking advantage of loyal customers. The committee also expressed concern about Qantas’s future, especially in light of the international border closures and the uncertainty around the reopening of travel. The committee asked Joyce how Qantas was preparing for the resumption of overseas flights, and what impact it would have on its domestic operations and pricing.

Joyce said that Qantas was optimistic about the recovery of international travel and that it was planning to resume flights to some destinations by December, subject to government approval and vaccination rates. He said that Qantas was keen to reconnect Australians with the world and that it would offer attractive fares and flexible booking options to encourage travel. He said that Qantas would also continue to support its domestic network and that it would adjust its capacity and pricing according to demand.

The Senate hearing was part of an ongoing inquiry into the future of Australia’s aviation sector, which has been severely affected by the pandemic. The inquiry is expected to deliver its final report by November and make recommendations on how to support the industry and protect consumers’ rights. (zi) – Photo: Qantas