New Qantas CEO issues mea culpa for airline’s shortcomings

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SeoulThe newly installed CEO of Qantas has issued a public mea culpa for a series of scandals that have damaged the airline’s reputation. In a video message released on Friday, Ms Hudson apologised to customers for the airline’s recent performance. “I know that we have let you down in many ways and for that, I am sorry,” she said. “We haven’t delivered the way we should have. And we’ve often been hard to deal with. We understand why you’re frustrated and why some of you have lost trust in us.”

The airline’s leadership has been under pressure for weeks following a series of scandals. In her apology Hudson vowed to fix issues at the airline and “get back to being the national carrier that all Australians can be proud of”. In an interview with media, Hudson said the company was focused on moving forward. “Be patient with us and we will absolutely lift Qantas back to the national carrier that Australians are proud of,” she said.

Some of the recent scandals involving Qantas include the airline removing the expiry dates on A$570 million worth of COVID travel credits after a backlash from Australian and international customers and it was revealed the consumer watchdog the ACCC was investigating claims Qantas sold tickets for already-cancelled flights.

Federal Court Justice Michael Lee last week ordered the airline and the Transport Workers’ Union to attend a month of mediation after the High Court unanimously rejected Qantas’ appeal of a ruling that the airline outsourced the jobs of its ground staff illegally. As a result of the High Court ruling, about 1,700 workers who were sacked could receive hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation and penalties from their former employer. Hudson apologised to the affected employees and said Qantas accepted the decision by the High Court.

The company’s annual report of profits released this week revealed former CEO Alan Joyce was paid A$21.4 million in the last financial year. But more than half of that could be clawed back because the airline is withholding all short-term bonuses for senior executives amid the ACCC investigation. Qantas has also been caught up in a decision by Transport Minister Catherine King to block Qatar Airways’ bid for extra flights to Australia, leading to accusations Qantas had too much power in Canberra.

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