Qantas announces big cash splash to win back credibility

How much does Qantas need to spend to win back the trust of the Australian public? After months of rolling scandals over allegations of dodgy sales techniques and government collusion, the Flying Kangaroo is opening up its wallet to buy back some of its battered reputation. Adam Bishop reports.

QANTAS has announced plans to square away some of its surging profits to make way for key customer service improvements to the business.

In an update released to the market this morning, the airline revealed it will stump up an extra $80 million to alleviate what it labelled customer “pain points” plaguing the company, including “more generous recovery support” for when things go wrong on its schedule.

The cash splash to win customers back is in addition to a previously budgeted $150 million on customer service reform, with the focus of spending to be on its contact centre, loyalty scheme, and in-flight catering.

A review of Qantas’ ‘policies of fairness’ will also take place as part of a revamp of its new customer-centric approach to flying.

While the extra money will be used to spearhead customer improvements, existing projects will also look to be fast-tracked under the funding push, such as the revamp of its Qantas app. Details of the enhanced app will be released in the coming weeks, however Qantas previously flagged giving customers more control over their bookings, introducing baggage tracking capabilities and improvements to Qantas Loyalty integration.

However, it might not all be bright news for Qantas passengers, with the company also flagging a possible rise in the price of air tickets if fuel prices continue to spike amid a weakening Australian dollar.

The airline noted that oil prices have increased by 30% since May, and could see the Group’s fuel bill rise by $200 million to $2.8 billion, alongside a $50 million slug from non-fuel related foreign exchange rates.

While Qantas said its preference was to “absorb these higher costs”, if the trajectory was to continue, the business noted it will be forced to adjust settings.

“Any changes would look to balance the recovery of higher costs with the importance of affordable travel in an environment where fares are already elevated,” Qantas said.

Meanwhile, Qantas also pointed to new aircraft deliveries and wet-lease agreements that will help lift its capacity by 12 percentage points by the end of year, equivalent to around 50 extra flights a week.

The extra tin in the air will assist with carrier resuming its Sydney-Shanghai services and starting two new routes, Brisbane-Wellington and Brisbane-Honiara, as well as a new Jetstar service from Brisbane to Tokyo.

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