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Travel Management

 November 01, 2011
Flight Centre Limited: Australian Government Should Have Acted Sooner In Qantas Dispute

 FCm Travel Solutions' parent company Flight Centre Limited believes the Australian Government should have ended the Qantas industrial action sooner to protect the country's tourism industry.

Steve Norris, general manager FCm UK said: "Here in the UK we had around 900 calls to our emergency assist service from corporate clients who were travelling or due to travel over the weekend with Qantas when planes were grounded.

"We sent out travel alerts immediately to clients and issued an emergency report to all our corporate teams advising which passengers were already in transit," he added. "This enabled our consultants to pro-actively contact clients and make alternative arrangements. We also boosted our 24/7 emergency assist service with volunteers from the FCm network and sent out further alerts ensuring all staff were aware of Qantas' re-protection policy so that they could pass this information onto their clients.

"However our parent company is Australia's largest travel agency group and the impact on their passengers was phenomenal. Flight Centre's emergency assist service handled calls from over 5,000 people and staff worked round the clock to help leisure and corporate travellers," Steve Norris said.

"Flight Centre Limited's managing director Graham Turner called for government intervention early last week as the dispute was already causing so much damage to Australia's tourism industry," added Norris. "Resolving the dispute had been in the country's interests for some time. Given tourism's importance to the Australia economy Graham felt that the government should have acted sooner."

FCm UK clients affected by the action were switched to alternative airlines or deferred their trips. In the light of Sunday's ruling, travellers are now revisiting their business travel plans although their confidence in booking with Qantas has been shaken.