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ACCC Chief Stands Firm In Qantas ‘Ghost Flight’ Controversy

The ongoing conflict between the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Qantas Airways regarding alleged ‘ghost flights’ escalates as ACCC Chief Gina Cass-Gottlieb asserts determination to battle it in court.

The accusations revolve around claims that Qantas sold tickets for flights the airline had already cancelled but failed to remove from sale. 

The ACCC launched legal action, asserting that over 8,000 flights scheduled to depart between May and July 2022 were continuously advertised on Qantas’ website for an average of more than two weeks after their cancellation, with some remaining available for up to 47 days.

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Sky News host Caleb Bond expressed concern over the situation, emphasising that Qantas’ alleged practices set a negative precedent for other airlines. 

“Good on her, because if this is the way Qantas operates … it gives a message to every other airline,” Mr Bond said.

“There is no contract with the customer that you will reasonably fly them at the time they have bought a flight.”

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However, Qantas has firmly rejected the allegations, arguing that the ACCC’s case overlooks the complexities of the aviation industry.

Despite acknowledging lapses in handling customer expectations during the COVID-19 restart, the airline asserted that customers on cancelled flights were offered alternatives or refunds.

The airline countered the ACCC’s claims, asserting that all impacted domestic passengers were offered flights on the same day as their original schedule or within an hour of their initial departure time. 

For international passengers, 98 per cent were presented with accommodation options on flights within a day of their scheduled departure. 

Qantas said that passengers were rebooked well in advance of their original travel dates, allowing adequate planning time.

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