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Monday, October 3, 2022

Qantas hits back at criticism as it battles delays, flight cancellations and mishandling of passenger luggage

Sydney – Australia’s national airline, Qantas, has hit back against at criticism following widespread delays, flight cancellations and mishandling of baggage as the nation’s airline industry restarts.

“Qantas and Jetstar are preparing to fly more than 350 000 customers across Australia over the next four days, with many families returning home to NSW, ACT and WA as the school holidays come to an end,” read a statement from Qantas.

As demand for domestic and international travel surged, the nation’s aviation industry has struggled to rebuild its workforce and provide smooth operations.

Swathes of held-back jetsetters took to social media to vent over lost baggage, delayed or cancelled flights, being stuck at airports and forced to sleep in terminals.

The Department of Transport reported that in May Qantas had the highest cancellation rate of any airline at 7.6 percent, with just 61.5 percent of all departures being on time.

Hitting back, the airline released a statement saying the delays were “industry wide” and the result of a spike in Covid cases, extreme weather, and a tight labour market.

“More than 1 000 operational team members have been recruited since Easter, including cabin crew, airport customer service, pilots and engineers,” said a Qantas spokesperson.

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It said that major staff boosts had been made to lessen the impact of Covid-19, and that they had begun using the larger Airbus A330, normally reserved for international flights, to meet domestic demand.

The airline further deflected complaints saying the situation across Europe, the United States and Britain was more severe.

Despite the return of travellers to the sky, the disruptions have seen Qantas’ stock price fall over 20 percent since the beginning of June.

In its end of financial year market update, the airline reported still being mired by 4-billion Australian dollars of debt, largely accrued during the pandemic when the industry had ground to a halt.

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