Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has compared Canberra airport to a gang of Somali pirates. The accusation came after Joyce claimed that a QF plane was held to “ransom” last year.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Joyce said an AUD 18,000 payment was demanded by credit card before a Qantas aircraft was allowed to leave CBR.
In an interview with ABC Canberra, CBR managing director Stephen Byron said the airport had “absolutely not” requested payment before allowing the plane to leave, after it was diverted to there in March 2017.
However, the ABC has printed an image (with the sender and recipient details redacted) of an email and invoice for a sum of AUD 20,503.77, including GST, which apparently needed to be paid by credit card. The email states: “Please note the aircraft cannot depart until the invoice is paid.”
The ABC noted that it had not been able to independently verify the documents, which appeared to support Qantas’ claims.
Joyce called the airport out for “appalling behaviour.”
“I’ve never seen it in my nearly 30 years in the aviation industry where a pilot’s been told to pass over a credit card of AUD 18,000 otherwise the aircraft can’t go. Maybe the airport should be called the Canberra Pirates, because you wouldn’t have this in Somalia.”
Byron told the ABC that Qantas had been diverting large international aircraft to Canberra Airport, which created disruption.
“It is true that we said we want a dialogue before the plane leaves and a commitment that these unauthorized landings do not occur again, and we got that commitment,” he said.
Byron had earlier criticized what he said was a high rate of cancellation of domestic Qantas flights between Sydney and Canberra.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.