Qantas has said it will offer thousands of free seats to those affected by the carrier’s recent halt in operations.

Airport news for Travel,Heathrow on 07/11/2011.

Arrange your travel plans by choosing from car hire, hotels, flights, airport parking and travel insurance using our form.

The Australian company said the move will come as an apology of sorts and as part of its efforts to regain consumer confidence after thousands of Qantas flyers were stranded in 22 cities worldwide last weekend when chief executive Alan Joyce ordered the company’s planes grounded in an unprecedented move amid its ongoing saga with Australian labour unions.

Now Qantas said that all passengers subjected to a ‘reasonable loss’ during the 48-hour grounding period would be given a free economy return ticket within Australia and New Zealand. Experts say the offer is expected to cost the airline AUD $19.5 million (£12.5 million).

Mr Joyce said in a statement that the move was one of several initiatives that the carrier would be launching in the effort of apologising as it moves into a period of greater stability.

But the news comes just after further difficulties for the carrier; Friday saw a Qantas jet diverted to Dubai International Airport amid a flight from Singapore to Heathrow due to engine difficulties. This occurred a year to the day after a Qantas A380 superjumbo was forced to make an emergency landing at Singapore just after takeoff when one of its engines exploded due to an oil leak.

More Airport News