Coalition wants more protections for airline passengers

Andrew Brown |

More than 2200 flights were cancelled in Australia during December.
More than 2200 flights were cancelled in Australia during December.

Airline passengers may soon get greater protections against cancelled or delayed flights under new laws set to go before federal parliament.

The coalition will introduce a private senator’s bill when the upper house next sits later in February aimed at boosting consumer protections.

“In light of the Qantas ticketing scandal and alleged ghost flights, the Pay on Delay bill is designed to clean up Australia’s airline industry through ensuring concrete protections for passengers,” opposition transport spokeswoman Bridget McKenzie said.

“The bill will clarify a passenger’s ticket is on a particular flight, to a particular destination at a particular time.”

Bridget McKenzie
Senator Bridget McKenzie said the Pay on Delay bill aims to ‘clean up’ the airline industry. (Esther Linder/AAP PHOTOS)

The private senator’s bill comes as the latest data showed more than 2200 services were cancelled in Australia during December.

Senator McKenzie said the domestic airline industry needed to provide better customer experiences following cancellations and delays.

“Australians travelling to see friends and family or for work are constantly let down by cancelled and delayed flights,” she said.

“In November alone, 45.3 per cent of flights were cancelled or delayed across Australia’s busiest routes, the ‘Golden Triangle’, of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, leading to widespread disruption and customer dissatisfaction.”

The calls for better consumer protection come as former consumer watchdog boss Alan Fels accused Qantas of price gouging.

A recent report from Mr Fels urged for more competition in domestic airlines.

“The duopoly in the aviation sector in Australia is dominated by Qantas and there is price gouging by Qantas,” he said on Wednesday.

Qantas hit back at the assertion the Australian aviation market was not competitive

“There are now four large jet operators, with Regional Express expanding onto mainline routes and the entry of Bonza,” the airline said in response to Prof Fels’ report.