SYDNEY- The newly appointed Qantas (QF) Airways CEO, Vanessa Hudson, said sorry to its customers, acknowledging that the national carrier will require time to rebuild the trust of the Australian public.
“I recognize that we have disappointed you on multiple occasions, and for this, I extend my apologies,” she conveyed in a video statement made available on September 22.
Qantas CEO Says Sorry
“We have not met your expectations as we should have, and our interactions have sometimes been challenging. We comprehend your frustration and why some of you have grown skeptical of us.”
Ms. Hudson expressed that Qantas employees had given their utmost effort amid challenging circumstances and emphasized the company’s commitment to enhancing the customer experience.
“We aim to return to being the national carrier that Australians can take pride in, renowned for its exceptional service. We recognize that we must regain your trust, not just through words, but through our actions and conduct,” she further stated.
She acknowledged that this process would require time and requested the patience of customers. Initiatives have already commenced, including increasing staff in call centers to expedite issue resolution, expanding frequent flyer seat availability, and conducting a comprehensive review of customer policies to ensure fairness.
“We’re also granting our frontline teams increased flexibility to provide better assistance in situations where things may not proceed as planned. But this is just the beginning,” Ms. Hudson stated.
She has assumed her role as CEO following the earlier departure of former CEO Alan Joyce, who left his position two months ahead of schedule.
His departure was prompted by legal action initiated by Australia’s consumer watchdog, which could potentially result in significant financial repercussions for the airline. The legal action pertained to the alleged promotion and sale of 8,000 airfares for flights that had already been canceled.
Simultaneously, Qantas is grappling with various other challenges that have garnered significant public attention. On September 19, CEO Hudson was directed by the federal court to engage in mediation with the Transport Workers Union. This mediation aims to reach an agreement regarding appropriate compensation for the unlawful dismissal of 1,700 employees during the pandemic.
In 2020, Qantas had outsourced these jobs as a cost-cutting measure in response to government-imposed lockdowns. However, a High Court ruling determined that this action violated the Fair Work Act.
Furthermore, a group of Qantas customers has come together to initiate a class-action lawsuit against the airline for its failure to provide cash refunds for flights canceled amid the pandemic. Echo Law, representing the plaintiffs, stated that aside from seeking refunds owed to Qantas customers, the claim also aims to recover interest and compensation for consequential losses, including compensation for the “loss of use of money.”
Qantas has also faced allegations of lobbying the federal Labor government to reject a request from Qatar Airways (QR), a Middle Eastern airline, to expand its flight operations into Australia. Transport Minister Catherine King denied the application, citing Australia’s “national interest” and concerns about Qatar’s human rights record. This decision is currently under scrutiny in a Senate inquiry.
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