In the midst of a turbulent market, Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX: QAN) has emerged as a standout performer, outpacing the steep losses witnessed by the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) today. The resilience of the Qantas share price in the face of adversity sheds light on the airline's ongoing journey through a post-COVID restart period filled with challenges.
Share Price Resilience
Shares of this ASX 200 airline closed Friday's trading session at $4.76, but in the early hours of Monday, they were trading at $4.75 each. While this reflects a modest 0.2% decline, it is noteworthy when compared to the 1.0% loss experienced by the broader ASX consumer stocks at the same time.
Qantas acknowledged that it had faced difficulties during the turbulent post-COVID restart period, characterized by elevated cancellation rates, flight delays, and baggage handling issues. The company attributed these problems to staff shortages and supply chain disruptions, which coincided with a surge in travel demand as borders reopened.
In response to these challenges, Qantas expressed remorse, stating, "While we restarted safely, we got many other things wrong, and for that, we have sincerely apologized."
Management's Response to ACCC
In August, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns about Qantas' operations. Qantas' management, however, countered these claims, asserting that the ACCC's case failed to consider the unique realities of the aviation industry, particularly the inability of airlines to guarantee specific flight times.
Regarding flight cancellations, the airline emphasized that it offered 100% of impacted domestic passengers same-day flights, either before or within an hour of their original flight time. For international passengers affected by cancellations, 98% were provided re-accommodation options on flights departing within a day of their originally scheduled date.
Management also pointed out that most passengers were informed well in advance of any flight changes, allowing them to adjust their plans accordingly.
Addressing Negative Publicity
Qantas faced criticism for keeping cancelled flights on sale for over 48 hours. In response, the company acknowledged the delays and expressed regret but clarified that it did not equate to obtaining a "fee for no service" since customers were either re-accommodated on other flights close to their original times or offered full refunds.
Qantas management also confirmed that, moving forward, cancelled flights would be removed from sale immediately, a change initiated well within the 48-hour window highlighted by the ACCC's case. The airline is in the process of developing a tailored IT solution to automate this procedure.
Qantas Share Price Snapshot
The Qantas share price faced significant selling pressure in August, resulting in a 20% decline year-to-date for this ASX 200 airline stock. Despite these challenges, Qantas remains a key player in the aviation industry, navigating the complexities of a post-COVID world while maintaining its commitment to customer satisfaction and service excellence.