Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says airline sold 8,000 flights that had already been cancelled.
Australia’s Qantas has apologised for its service standards falling short and acknowledged it was suffering reputational damage, after the country’s competition regulator sued it for allegedly selling tickets for thousands of cancelled flights.
Last week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in a court filing that the carrier broke consumer law when it sold tickets to more than 8,000 flights between May and July 2022 without disclosing they had been cancelled.
The regulator alleged that Qantas kept selling tickets for an average of 16 days after it had cancelled flights for reasons often within its control.
Qantas said in a statement on Monday that it was continuing to review the allegations made by the ACCC, reiterating that the period of time that the ACCC’s claims relate to was “one of well-publicised upheaval and uncertainty across the aviation industry.”
Qantas clarified that its practice is that when a flight is cancelled, customers are offered an alternative flight close to the original departure time, or a refund.
After Australia opened its borders in late 2021 after the pandemic, Qantas bore the brunt of complaints about flight cancellations and lost luggage mostly due to staff shortages.
“The ACCC’s allegations come at a time when Qantas’ reputation has already been hit hard on several fronts. We want the community to know that we hear and understand their disappointment,” the airline said in a statement.