Australia’s Qantas apologizes to customers for lost luggage and canceled flights

Australia’s Qantas Airways has apologized to customers for problems with lost luggage, and canceled and delayed flights, as travel demand rebounds from the pandemic-induced slowdown in coronavirus.

In a video message posted on YouTube on Sunday, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline was “working hard” to remove travel bottlenecks.

“On behalf of the national carrier, I want to apologize and assure you that we are working hard to get back to our best,” Joyce said.

The airline has hired an additional 1,500 people since April to “have more crew in reserve to deal with a 50% increase in sick leave”.

Qantas is also introducing new technology to make travel easier, he said, adding that “things have already improved”.

Qantas’ announcement comes as air travel around the world is hampered due to staff shortages amid improving demand.

Many employees who were laid off during the pandemic have moved on to other professions with more flexible work options. This has led to chaos at airports and capacity cuts at airlines.

In the UK, Heathrow Airport has been blighted by a staff shortage, leading to a halt in short-haul ticket sales and a capacity cap to deal with disruptions and cancellations.

Demand for air travel is picking up as border restrictions ease and people take advantage of the freedom to travel after two years of Covid-19 lockdowns.

International traffic in June more than tripled, driven by the lifting of restrictions in most parts of Asia-Pacific, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said.

Total air traffic during the month – measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) – increased by more than two-thirds compared to June 2021, mainly propelled by an annual increase in international traffic of around 230%, the report said. aviation body in its monthly update released earlier this month.

The results put global traffic at around 71% of pre-Covid-19 levels, another improvement from May’s 69%.

Qantas, which has been hit hard by a labor shortage, even asked senior managers to help with baggage handling for three months to support airport operations.

The airline is looking for 100 volunteers to work at Sydney and Melbourne airports to help cope with the situation, a senior official told the BBC earlier this month.

“Throughout this time, our customers have been very understanding,” said Joyce.

“So in addition to saying sorry, we also want to thank you. We know that what matters most is that your next trip goes smoothly. And that’s why we are focused on getting Qantas back to his best.”

Updated: August 21, 2022, 10:32 a.m.

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