The flight cancellations were typically related not to weather or staffing shortages but to circumstances that were within the airline’s control, including changes in “consumer demand, route withdrawals or retention of takeoff and landing slots at certain airports,” Gina Cass-Gottlieb, the A.C.C.C. chair, said in a statement. The commission did not state why Qantas would have sold tickets for canceled flights.
The news came as anger swirls in Australia at revelations that the government blocked Qatar Airways from adding flights to Australia to protect Qantas’s interests, in turn keeping fares at double the cost of those of before the pandemic.
The proposal, which would have added one million additional seats a year and most likely have reduced prices, was blocked by Catherine King, the transportation minister, who said that it was not in Australia’s national interests, including the “need to ensure that there are long-term, well-paid, secure jobs by Australians in the aviation sector.”
The airline faces a separate class-action lawsuit over its policy on flights canceled because of the pandemic, in which the airline issued travel credits that would expire rather than give refunds to customers.
“By acting in this way,” the suit alleges, “Qantas has enjoyed significant financial benefits at its customers’ expense.”