Qantas to Pay for 'Ghost Flights' Scandal in Fines and Compensation

Qantas to Pay for 'Ghost Flights' Scandal in Fines and Compensation

Qantas Airways has reached a settlement with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in a case concerning the sale of tickets for flights that had been cancelled. The airline has agreed to pay a fine of AUD 100 million (approximately USD 66 million) and will compensate over 86,000 affected customers with a total of AUD 13 million. Customers who purchased tickets for domestic flights will receive AUD 225 each, while those who bought international tickets will get AUD 450.

The ACCC had initiated legal action against Qantas, alleging that the company engaged in false, misleading, or deceptive conduct by continuing to sell tickets on flights it had decided to cancel between May 2021 and August 2023. The settlement, which includes the penalty and the compensation program, is pending approval by the Federal Court of Australia.

The ACCC described Qantas's conduct as "egregious and unacceptable," and the fine is expected to serve as a warning to other Australian companies about anti-competitive behavior. Qantas has publicly acknowledged the issue, with new CEO Vanessa Hudson admitting the airline let down customers and failed to adhere to its own standards. The "ghost flight" controversy and the subsequent legal dispute led to significant changes in the airline's leadership, including the early retirement of then-CEO Alan Joyce and a boardroom cleanout, as the company seeks to restore its brand and customer trust.


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