In the wake of a slew of complaints from dissatisfied passengers, Qantas has issued an apology and announced plans to increase staff and reduce flights.
As Qantas recovered from the COVID-19 shutdown, CEO Andrew David acknowledged that the airline had challenges that had disappointed passengers in recent months.
At Sydney radio station 2GB, he apologised to all his listeners on Wednesday.
Despite the fact that “we are the national airline, people have high expectations of us, and we have high expectations of ourselves, and plainly over the last six months, we have not been providing what we did pre-COVID.”
Mr David said flight cancellations and the lost luggage rate were now close to where they were pre-COVID.
In light of our operational challenges, we’ve decreased some of our flying this month and are likely to do the same next month.
Additionally, the airline was hiring additional staff. It had already hired 1000 new employees since Easter when airports around the country were gridlocked, and people flocked to travel again when state borders reopened.
The capacity that was removed to meet the operational demands, Mr David explained, will be added back in as new employees are trained.
In addition, the airline’s decision to outsource luggage handling to contractors after laying off 1600 baggage handlers during the lockdown, a move that the Federal Court found illegal, has yet to be settled.
He stated, “We disagree with that decision, and we are appealing,” Mr David said.
If the baggage handlers decide to go on strike, it might impact thousands of travellers.
Currently, the Transport Workers Union is requesting a vote on strike action to negotiate a new employment agreement with Emirates-owned baggage handling business, Dnata.
Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Etihad would all be impacted by a baggage strike.
According to TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine, workers at Dnata have been “overworked and weary” for two years.
He said that there were staggering low staffing levels, pay cuts for experienced workers, and conditions below award minimums are all contributing factors.
Understaffing in airport jobs is to blame for Qantas becoming the worst-performing airline in recent months, resulting in flight cancellations and lost luggage.”
According to him, Dnata has had difficulty filling open positions due to the work’s low wages and part-time nature. Rather than raise standards or guarantee additional hours for current employees, the company has attempted to hire people from abroad.