Qantas CEO Alan Joyce accused of ‘misleading’ the public at fiery hearing into cost of living

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was on the defensive during the Senate hearing.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has been grilled over the carrier’s huge profits amid a Senate committee hearing into the rising cost of living.

Joyce appeared alongside Jetstar CEO Steph Tully to face tough questioning over the airline’s plummeting customer satisfaction levels in contrast to this year’s 2.5 billion profit.

Labor senator Tony Sheldon set the tone by declaring that Joyce has “been misleading the Australian public about outstanding flight credits”.

“Last Thursday you said there are $370 million in outstanding flight credits … but what you didn’t say is that you’ve excluded Jetstar and overseas customers from the total,” Sheldon said.

“What is the total sum value of flight credits remaining across the whole Qantas group, including Jetstar and overseas customers?”

Tully admitted that Jetstar owes $100 million in flight credits in addition to the $370 million Qantas owes its customers. Qantas has set a deadline of December 31 for outstanding flight credits to be claimed.

Tully said their “absolute goal is zero credit left by the end of December”.

Joyce also fielded questions about the federal government’s controversial decision to block Qatar Airways from operating additional flights.

Joyce conceded that he had sent a letter to the federal government last year warning that granting Qatar extra flights would distort the market.

“We said to the government that capacity was coming back … quite rapidly in all of these markets, and that granting a carrier doubling their traffic rights in the short term would cause distortion,” Joyce said.

“And then when the capacity was already coming back and the short-term needs will go on to be met anyway and that’s proven to be the case.

“A lot of capacity is being added to the market and it’s going to be significant over the next year, and that will bring down airfares quite considerably.”

Joyce also batted away questions regarding Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s son being granted access to the invitation only Qantas Chairman’s Lounge.

“I’m not going to comment on Chairman’s Club membership,” Joyce said. “There are privacy issues where we will not comment on who’s in it, who’s been offered it, so I will not be making any comments on that, or confirming or denying it.”