Own Qantas shares? Here's what's coming up for the ASX 200 airline in September

Qantas shares could face headwinds on several fronts in September.

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Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX: QAN) shares dropped 9.5% in August.

And the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) airline stock is already hitting some turbulence during the second trading day of September.

Qantas shares closed down 1.5% on Friday, 1 September. And the stock is down 2.9% in early afternoon trade today, at $5.65 per share.

For some context, the ASX 200 is up 0.47% at this same time.

With a rocky start to the new month, what's ahead for the flying kangaroo in September?

What's ahead for the ASX 200 airline in September?

Qantas shares could face headwinds on several fronts in the month ahead.

Last week saw the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accuse the airline of advertising and selling 8,000 flights, despite knowing those flights were cancelled.

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb indicated the Commission would be seeking fines that would send a serious message to management.

"We are going to seek a penalty that will underline that this is not just to be a cost of doing business, it is to deter conduct of this nature," she said.

So, just what sized fine is required to underline that point?

"We think the penalties should be in the hundreds of millions, not tens of millions for breaches," Cass-Gottlieb said.

Qantas responded today, stating:

The ACCC's allegations come at a time when Qantas' reputation has already been hit hard on several fronts. We want the community to know that we hear and understand their disappointment.

We know that the only way to fix it is by delivering consistently. We know it will take time to repair. And we are absolutely determined to do that.

Should the ACCC's legal actions make progress in September, or garner significant media attention, this could continue to pressure Qantas shares.

What else could impact Qantas shares?

Investors will also be keeping an eye on the airline's dominant market position this month.

With travel demand continuing its post-pandemic rebound and airfares remaining elevated, Qantas reported a 118% year on year increase in FY 2023 revenue, to $19.8 billion. And the ASX 200 airline notched an all-time high underlying profit before tax of $2.5 billion.

Those super profits appeared to be at risk in early June, potentially dragging on Qantas shares. That came after Qatar Airways petitioned Federal Transport Minister Catherine King to double the volume of international flights allowed on the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane routes.

In July, Qantas got a big reprieve when King announced, "The Australian government is not considering additional bilateral air rights with Qatar."

But this story continues to unfold and could yet impact Qantas shares in September.

Numerous politicians and officials are questioning whether the government should be protecting Qantas' profit margins by stifling competition in the market.

And the airline's competitors are joining in the fray.

As ABC News reports, Regional Express Holdings Ltd (ASX: REX) deputy chairman John Sharp said the airline industry in Australia is the "most concentrated industry in the world".

Sharp is in favour of potentially allowing Qatar to operate more flights in Australia.

"I think it's appropriate if they were to reverse the decision on Qatar flights," he said.

Sharp pointed out that Qatar helped bring home more Aussies stuck overseas during the pandemic than Qantas did.

While that might impact Qantas future profits, and Qantas shares, Sharp also said that the move would help consumers, saying airfares would "clearly" come down "with more competition".

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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