Grounded Airline of the Day: Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, announced today that it has grounded its entire fleet as a result of an ongoing dispute with three major Australian unions.
Daughter companies QantasLink and Jetstar will continue to operate for the time being.
In addition to the indefinite grounding of 108 aircraft worldwide, all union-affiliated employees will be locked out effective Monday night.
The dispute involves three industry unions: the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA). Pay, conditions, and outsourcing of jobs are at the heart of the matter.
Despite annoucing in August that its full-year net profit had more than doubled, Qantas still sought to slash over 1,000 jobs and move many of them to Asia. It certainly didn’t help matters that, shortly after annoucing its restructing plan, Qantas revealed that it had given its CEO, Alan Joyce, a 71% raise, bumping his pay package to $5 million a year.
Qantas is offering the 80,000 passengers affected alternative flights to their destinations, or refunds for those whose flights were canceled. Each day the fleet remains grounded costs the airline $20 million.
“I would hope the parties to this dispute act like adults,” said Australian Transport Minister Anthony Albanese at a press conference. “”[The Government] remains of the view, that with a little bit of commonsense and acknowledgment that there is a common interest between management and employees a solution can be found.”
The industrial relations commission is set to discuss the dispute tonight.
[abc / smh / image: pixiedub.]