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CEO admits her airline 'let you down in many ways' and asks customers for patience to 'earn your trust back'

Qantas aeroplanes wait at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport on February 25, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. On Thursday Qantas will announce their half year results, media reports suggest part of those announcements will include a large number of job cuts and the sale of their Melbourne terminal.
Qantas planes at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport. Scott Barbour
  • New Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson apologized for the series of scandals involving the Australian airline.

  • The carrier is facing penalties for laying off thousands of staff and selling tickets on canceled flights.

  • Hudson said regaining trust would "take time and I ask for your patience."

The new CEO of Qantas has issued an apology to customers, admitting that the airline hadn't "delivered the way we should have and we have often been hard to deal with."

"We have let you down in many ways and for that I am sorry," Vanessa Hudson said in a video posted to the company's social media accounts.

"We understand we need to earn your trust back, not with what we say but what we do and how we behave. This is going to take time and I ask for your patience."

Hudson took over September 6 after Alan Joyce said he was stepping down two months early following a number of scandals involving the airline. She has worked for the company for almost three decades and became CFO in 2018.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is taking legal action against Qantas for selling tickets for thousands of flights it never intended to operate.

The airline also has another big headache after its decision to lay off 1,700 ground staff in 2020 was found to have breached Australia's Fair Work Act.

Hudson has been ordered by a federal court judge to attend mediation proceedings with the Transport Workers' Union to settle compensation and penalty claims. Qantas could face fines of hundreds of millions of dollars in a settlement, The Guardian reported.

"We deeply regret the personal impact the outsourcing decision had on all those affected and we sincerely apologise for that," the company said in a press release.

Calling the last few months "a humbling period," Hudson told customers that change was underway. The airline is putting more people in its call centres, adding seats to be booked with frequent flier points, reviewing all customer policies, and giving frontline teams more flexibility to help customers, she said in the video.

"We want to get back to the national carrier that Australians can be proud of," Hudson added.

Joyce has come under fire for a $15.4 million golden goodbye, with one Australian politician calling it the "swindle of the century." The figure has since been reduced to $13.8 million.

Qantas did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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