Australia’s competition watchdog, the ACCC, believes that increasing Qatar Airways flights into the country could have led to more affordable airfares. This statement comes as the government faces criticism for denying Qatar’s request for additional flights.
Gina Cass-Gottlieb, head of the ACCC, concurs with her predecessors, suggesting that Qatar Airways’ expansion could have resulted in decreased prices, a move that would benefit consumers.
Two former heads of the ACCC have criticized the government’s decision to reject Qatar Airways’ flight request, stating that it primarily protects Qantas from competition.
While it’s challenging to determine the exact extent of airfare reductions, Virgin Australia projected a potential 40% decrease.
The ACCC intends to seek penalties exceeding $250 million for Qantas’ sale of tickets for non-existent flights, considering it a record penalty for such conduct.
The government has faced scrutiny for declining Qatar Airways’ request for additional flights without providing a clear reason. Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones initially cited protecting the “national interest” and supporting Qantas’ profitability but later withdrew the latter reason.
The ACCC is taking legal action against Qantas for selling tickets for flights that had already been canceled, with these tickets available for purchase for weeks after cancellations.
This controversy arises as Qantas CEO Alan Joyce concludes his 15-year tenure at the airline, with Qantas facing allegations of exploiting customers and employees.
The government’s decision to block Qatar’s expansion is being questioned by various political groups, who seek greater transparency in the decision-making process.