Qantas has been under intense scrutiny since the demand for air travel rebounded within Australia’s aviation industry, mainly due to staffing shortages resulting in inabilities to operate initially scheduled flights. In the last month alone, the flag carrier canceled one in 12 domestic flights, even more than the cancellations from the month before.
Qantas’ declining reputation
In June, 5.8% of all flights from all Australian airlines were canceled, which was almost three times more than the long-term cancellation average. Though the main reasons stemmed from lack of staff and rising fuel costs, these figures still marked the worst that The Australian aviation industry has seen since November 2003. The unfortunate record comes just months after it was already previously set in April as Australian carriers battled staff shortages during the Easter holidays.
Of the scrapped flights, the most significant culprit was Australia’s flag carrier, which scrapped about 8,1% of scheduled domestic flight services in June. Qantas has also been severely criticized for its delay statistics, as only 58.4% of the airline’s flights departed on With Qantas’ performance declining by the month, its reputation has become known as the country’s least reliable airline.
Regarding Qantas’ domestic route network, the Sydney-Melbourne route topped the podium with more than 15% of its scheduled flight services being axed, and the return route took second place with 14.9% of its schedules being taken out. Trailing not far behind was the Sydney-Canberra route which saw a cancellation rate of just over 11%, while the return dealt with an equally hefty 10.5%.
Perhaps the added salt to Qantas’ wound is when statistics showed that rival Virgin Australia scrapped far lesser flights at just 5.8% and saw the highest percentage of on-time arrivals at 62.4%. Photo: Getty Images
Infant rebooked on separate flight
And if going from being the prestigious flag carrier of Australia to the worst domestic carrier was not a big enough blow to Qantas given all the axes and delays, it was soon dealt another. A young couple had been traveling through Europe with their 13-month -old daughter and had booked a trip home to Australia with Qantas, only to realize that this flight was canceled and rescheduled.
While the rescheduling wasn’t much of an issue, it came as quite a shock to the couple, learning that they would not be on the same flight home as their young daughter. Allegedly, Qantas had rebooked their young daughter onto an entirely separate flight from the one they were rescheduled on. The nightmare was made worse for the couple as they spent over 20 hours being put on hold across over 50 various calls to Qantas’ offshore support to amend the issue.
Stephan Braham, the mother, said:
“They said they hadn’t done anything wrong because they did book her a ticket. Initially, they denied any liability. That’s Qantas. We spent 20 hours 47 minutes and 13 seconds on the phone to Qantas over 24 hours and over 55 separate phone calls before they finally agreed to book us on new flights home. “
Though the trio was finally booked on the same flight home, it cost them another two weeks’ worth of accommodation in Rome as their flight home with Qantas was pushed back by a long 12 days. Qantas has extended its sincerest apologies to the family and said that a backend administrative error between itself and airline partner KLM mistakenly caused the young child to automatically be rebooked on a different flight from the parents.
Qantas also says it is reaching out to the family to provide additional support and will reimburse the extended accommodation. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying
Pressure on Qantas’ leader
Considering Qantas had previously highlighted that passengers would not face a repeat of the Easter holidays, it seems understandable why the complaints again the oneworld member airline keep growing by the pile. The burdening figures also do little to soften the scrutiny of Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce, whose leadership has been blamed for the trending downfall of Qantas, especially since the firing of thousands of essential employees during the height of the pandemic.
The pent-up frustration against Joyce has already seen his house egged and vandalized, but as Qantas performs worse by the month, the airline leader might not have seen the worst of things.
The National Secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, Dave Noonan, is also non-too-pleased with the airline CEO. Noonan’s early morning Qantas flight for the Melbourne-Canberra route was delayed. In a public expression of his acute disappointment with the delay, Noonan entered Joyce’s name into the vernacular.
As with several significant airlines worldwide with damaged reputations due to similar issues, Qantas will need a considerable period to recover its once-prestigious image. While Joyce has previously reiterated having zero intentions of stepping down, he will undoubtedly have plenty to work on to regain the faith and trust of Qantas’ passengers.
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