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Qantas sending more aircraft maintenance offshore

Qantas labor dispute fallout felt internationally

Oct 16, 2011

QANTAS is sending more aircraft maintenance offshore, and has lost a contract to service another airline's jets as the fallout from industrial wrangles are felt internationally.

The Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, criticised unions representing its pilots, maintenance engineers and ground handlers for holding the company to ransom.

''And unfortunately they are the strongest unions with the biggest industrial muscle, and are using that industrial muscle to hold Qantas, its customers, its employees to ransom,'' Mr Joyce told Sky's Agenda yesterday.

He revealed that New Caledonia's international airline, Aircalin, has cancelled its aircraft maintenance contract with Qantas, while Qantas's low-cost subsidiary, Jetstar, has been forced to service some of its planes overseas.

''Aircalin, who actually give us line maintenance for [Airbus] A320s and A330s, have decided to cancel our contract, and we've lost that business,'' he said.

He called on parties to return to the negotiating table.

But the pilots' union revealed yesterday that Qantas wrote to them late on Friday to advise them the airline was pulling out of forthcoming talks before Fair Work Australia.

The president of the Australian and International Pilots' Association said he was ''baffled'' Qantas would pull out of formal talks scheduled for October 28 and 31 and November 1.

"I am completely stunned at Qantas management's decision to walk away from conciliation before Fair Work Australia," Captain Barry Jackson said.

"We are eager to come to a negotiated solution. That's pretty tough to achieve when one side suspends negotiations.''

The union's vice-president, Captain Richard Woodward, vowed the union would press on with its public lobbying to overturn the airline's executive pay packets at the airline's annual general meeting on October 28.

An airline spokesman said Qantas was ''not walking away from negotiations''. ''We are calling on the pilots' union to withdraw their unrealistic and damaging claim that Jetstar and Jetconnect pilots should receive the same high wages and conditions as Qantas pilots,'' the spokesman said.

From today, Qantas grounds five domestic aircraft for a month. Sixteen flights have been cancelled today, affecting passengers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Qantas labor dispute fallout felt internationally
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce / Image via


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