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Qantas And Virgin CEO Call Out Aussie Airports On Fees

CEOs of two of Australia’s biggest airlines, calling for the federal government to come in and regulate airports, in order to cut down on customer costs and fees.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, alongside Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah, spoke at the National Press Club, held in Canberra recently, saying that airports have customers under their thumb thanks to their monopolies, which result in customers having to deal with high fees just to get to the country and board their Cairns to Port Douglas shuttle, or wherever their destination is.

The two bigwigs are saying that Australian airports and their monopolies are excessive with their fees, and are damaging the country’s economy, as a result, their behavior enabled by a lack of actual regulation, control or intervention to keep them in line.

Mr. Joyce notes how Australia is home to four of the world’s most profitable airports, yet, none of these airports are rated as some of the best in the world, showing a notable discrepancy in profit and customer satisfaction.

Mr. Scurrah, meanwhile, notes that the unregulated status of the airport industry in Australia means that the airports have free reign to set fees as they see fit, noting how one Aussie airport’s 2018 annual report stated proudly that their revenues from their aeronautical services went up by 52%, in spite of aircraft movements dropping by 0.03% in the same time period.

Their comments came just before the publication of the report by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s Productivity Commission, which will be the basis on decisions regarding the regulation of Australia’s airports.

Mr. Joyce took some heat after it was revealed that he was the country’s top-earning executive in 2018, receiving a total salary of about $24 million in the same year his company posted a massive profit of $1.6 billion.

As for the airports, a report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), released in February 2019, noted that the parking costs dropped for the country’s four biggest airports, to the benefit of travelers without a Cairns to Port Douglas shuttle or something of the like.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims explains that these drops are a good example of what competition can do for pricing,  with airport parking under threat from off-airport parking, ride sharing, as well as public transport.

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