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New boss for Jetstar – as it cancels more overseas flights

New Jetstar CEO appointed as the carrier faces fresh accusations of leaving holidaymakers stranded overseas. Photo: TND

Jetstar has announced it has a new boss – as the budget carrier faces fresh accusations of leaving holidaymakers stranded overseas.

Qantas chief customer officer Stephanie Tully will take over as Jetstar’s new chief executive.

But she arrives at a time of turmoil for the budget airline. It was reported on Tuesday that it had cancelled at least two flights from Honolulu to Australia since Saturday, leaving customers stranded and angry.

And flights from Thailand have also reportedly being grounded – leaving one Australian traveller busking on the streets to raise money to pay for food and accommodation.

“Waiting at 5am at Waikiki for taxi to airport for 10am flight home, receive a text saying flight cancelled … for engineering reasons. Forced to get a $3000 QANTAS flight. People did warn me not to trust Jetstar,” one Hawaiian traveller wrote on Twitter.

Another responded: “Just happened to our family, 5am notification! How could this be allowed to happen? Six of us got last seats on Qantas flight back to Sydney in three days time at an outrageous price and in US$. Take people overseas and leave them stranded? Outrageous! Never again Jetstar”

Jetstar said affected passengers had been given about $300 a room for accommodation, meal costs and other reasonable expenses.

“We appreciate delays are extremely frustrating and we sincerely apologise for the impact this is having on customers’ travel plans, especially during the school holidays,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

The cancellations occurred after a Jetstar B787 aircraft was struck by lightning on its way to Cairns while another required a replacement part.

“A single B787 out of service means we need to find seats for around 300 customers. We do that by putting on special services and booking seats on other airlines,” the spokesperson said.

“Our teams right across the business are working through all options to get the remaining customers on their way as quickly as possible, and many of those impacted have already travelled home.”

Jetstar did not confirm how many passengers were affected by the cancellation.

In Thailand, opera singer Edit Pali and her husband Tibor are also stranded.

Jetstar offered them $30 a day for meals and $150 a day for accommodation to compensate for the unplanned extension of their trip, News Corp reports. But with the money yet to land, Ms Pali said she had been busking on the streets of Phuket to scrape together money.

“I’m a tough chook but I cried, I really cried,” Ms Pali said.

“We’re just average people, we don’t make a lot of money, so for us to go away to Thailand for a week to a luxury resort, that was a big enough chunk into our savings.”

They are just the latest storms for Jetstar, after thousands of Australian holidaymakers being left stranded in Bali after it cancelled multiple flights – also due to “engineering issues”.

Jetstar said at the time its Boeing 787 fleet had been hit by numerous issues requiring engineering work, including “a lightning strike, a bird strike, and delays sourcing a specific spare part for one of our aircraft due to global supply chain challenges”.

New boss for Jetstar

Ms Tully will replace outgoing boss Gareth Evans, who resigned in June and will leave the airline by the end of 2022.

Mr Evans is a long-time Qantas executive who had once been touted as a replacement for CEO Alan Joyce.

Ms Tully joined the national carrier in 2004 and has worked in operational, commercial, marketing and customer loyalty roles.

She has been a Qantas group executive and chief customer officer since 2019.

“Stephanie has worked across several different parts of the airline, from crewing to marketing, and has a deep understanding of customer experience,” Mr Joyce said.

“She’s an outstanding leader and she’ll be leading a very experienced senior team at Jetstar to keep building on the strengths of that business.”

Markus Svensson has been promoted to Ms Tully’s chief customer officer. He will also become a member of the group executive committee.

Ms Tully and Mr Svensson formally begin their new roles in November.

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