Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has been called before a Senate inquiry, where he is expected to face a grilling on ticket prices, COVID credits and outsourcing.
Joyce, who is handing over the reins of the Flying Kangaroo to Vanessa Hudson in November, will appear before a Senate committee for the first time since 2014, when he faces the Senate Select Committee on the Cost of Living next Monday.
In a blistering press release, NSW Labor Senator Tony Sheldon said Joyce will be made to answer questions on how the airline’s decisions have impacted the cost of living for its workers and customers, and noted that Qantas was the ACCC’s most complained about company in the 2021-22 financial year.
“After almost a decade of evading parliamentary scrutiny, even while receiving a $2.7 billion no-strings-attached bailout from the Morrison Government, Mr Joyce has a lot to answer for,” said Sheldon.
“Qantas has transformed from an aviation pioneer, into a pioneer of corporate greed, extracting every last cent possible from its workers, its customers and even the previous Federal Government.
“Between its war on its workers, price gouging on fares, its shonky credits system and aggressive competitive behaviour, it is high time that Qantas is held to account.”
In a statement, a Qantas spokesman confirmed that Joyce will appear before the committee. The airline has long been at loggerheads with Senator Sheldon, and last year dedicated a post on its website to addressing what it called a “list of mistruths”.
“Qantas was invited to attend a Cost of Living Senate Committee hearing and to nominate relevant executives, which we did,” the spokesman said.
“Despite no other company CEO being required to attend, the Committee subsequently insisted that Qantas CEO Alan Joyce appear, which he will do.”
The summons comes as Qantas records a bumper $2.465 billion profit for the 2022-23 financial year, which comes off the back of its domestic operation returning to 96 per cent of pre-COVID levels and its international services back to 67 per cent.
The money will likely help fund its huge fleet renewal program, dubbed Project Winton, which means it will either buy or have purchase rights to up to 299 narrow-body and 12 wide-body aircraft for delivery over the next decade.