Qantas, the national carrier, has announced a $80 million investment in customer improvements in an effort to regain customer trust. This decision comes after Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson issued an apology to customers last week in light of various challenges faced by the airline. The company aims to address “customer pain points” through this multi-million dollar funding, which will be used to lift the number of frequent flyer point seats, enhance in-flight catering, and resolve contact centre issues.
In a market update, Qantas stated, “This additional investment is aimed at addressing a number of customer ‘pain points’ through improvements such as better contact centre resourcing and training, an increase in the number of seats that can be redeemed with Frequent Flyer points, more generous recovery support when operational issues arise, a review of longstanding policies for fairness and improvements to the quality of inflight catering.” The airline plans to fund this investment using company profits, in addition to the $150 million already allocated for the 2024 financial year.
Meanwhile, Qantas has hinted at the possibility of reviewing airfare prices due to higher fuel prices. The company noted that fuel prices have risen by 30 percent since May 2023, including a 10 percent increase since August. Qantas will continue to absorb these higher costs but will monitor fuel prices in the coming weeks. If current levels are sustained, the company may adjust its fare prices to strike a balance between recovering higher costs and maintaining affordable travel.
Despite recent challenges, Qantas stated that travel demand remains strong and trading conditions are similar to those in the final quarter of the 2023 financial year. The company expects over 4 million passengers to travel with them during the September-October school holidays and footy finals, with plans to operate 35,000 domestic and international services during this period.
In recent news, Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson apologized to customers in a video statement, acknowledging her shortcomings and expressing remorse. She has also been ordered to attend mediation with the Transport Workers Union to discuss compensation for workers who were laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Former CEO Alan Joyce left his position earlier than planned due to legal action from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which accused Qantas of selling plane tickets for flights that had been canceled. Qantas has also faced criticism for supporting the corporate “Yes” campaign for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.