Qantas’ new CEO Vanessa Hudson has released a video apology to customers after a series of controversies and legal actions hit the Australian airline.
Hudson, who replaced previous CEO Alan Joyce after he brought forward his retirement amid continuing troubles for the company, expressed that she wanted to bring the airline back to its position as a national carrier that “Australians can be proud of.”
Hudson said: “We understand we need to earn your trust back, not with what we say but what we do and how we behave. This is going to take time and I ask for your patience.
“The work is already underway: we’re putting more people in our call centres to help solve problems faster, we’re adding more frequent flyer seats, we’re reviewing all of our customer policies to make sure they’re fair and we’re giving our frontline teams more flexibility to better help you when things don’t go to plan.”
Among the airline’s recent issues, Qantas has faced court action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for allegedly advertising tickets for thousands of flights that had already been cancelled in 2022, as well as taking too long to inform customers that their flights had been cancelled.
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I want you to know that we’re determined to fix it
Additionally, the airline lost an appeal at the Australian High Court against a Federal Court ruling that found it had illegally sacked thousands of ground handling workers after outsourcing work in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, in violation of the country’s Fair Work Act.
Hudson added that it had been a “humbling period” for the company, saying: “We haven’t delivered the way we should have and we’ve often been hard to deal with. We understand why you’re frustrated, why some of you have lost trust in us.
“I know that our people have tried their absolute best under very difficult circumstances. I want you to know that we’re determined to fix it, to improve the experience for you and to support our people better.”
Qantas also recognised the loss of trust in the release of its annual report for the 2023 financial year. The airline reported a statutory profit after tax of A$1.74bn ($1.12bn), its first year of profit since 2019 and a 132% increase in flying compared to the previous year.