STORY: Australian airline Qantas Airways said on Monday it had agreed to pay a penalty worth $79 million U.S. dollars to settle a lawsuit.

The claim accused the airline giant of illegally selling thousands of tickets for flights that had already been cancelled.

The fine is the largest ever faced by an Australian airline.

As part of the settlement with Australia's consumer commission, the company will split $13 million between more than 86,000 customers who booked tickets on the so-called "ghost flights" and pay a $66 million fine instead of defending the lawsuit that it had previously vowed to fight.

The penalty is subject to the approval of the Federal Court of Australia.

CEO Vanessa Hudson said in a statement that, QUOTE, "we recognize Qantas let down customers and fell short of our own standards," CEO Vanessa Hudson said in a statement."

Qantas was sued last August by the consumer commission, which alleged that in some cases the airlines flights were on sale for weeks after they'd been cancelled.

The company had argued that it faced similar challenges to airlines around the world, but the commission said its actions broke consumer law.

Qantas is also still waiting to learn how much it must pay nearly 1,700 ground handling staff it sacked in 2020 after a court found the job cuts were illegal since they were intended to stop industrial action.