Safety - our first priority
Our commitment to a healthy, safe and secure environment for our people and customers.
As an airline, safety is core to all that we do.
Our safety, health and security activities are supported by comprehensive governance processes that help us monitor and manage performance and risks.
We encourage our people to report safety and security-related matters, even when they are closely involved and might feel vulnerable to criticism.
This is supported by policies and procedures to ensure our people are treated fairly under what is known as ‘just culture’.
Our approach covers three main areas: operational safety, people safety and operational security.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges to our organisation and our people to work through. We brought grounded aircraft back into service, our employees came back to work after being stood down, and we opened or reopened flying to ports that we had not flown to in over a year and to some that had not seen an aircraft in that time.
Despite these challenges, our operational safety performance was strong as we maintained a reporting culture where people are confident to report issues without fear and consistent operational performance across all parts of the organisation.
The Group has continued to deliver safe aircraft operations through programs such as:
- Safely returning to the skies: During the pandemic Qantas had to ground the majority of our fleet. This was a difficult program of work that required careful planning and scheduling. Over the past year, the return of domestic and international travel as borders reopened required a similar program of work to return our aircraft to the skies, including a focus on training for crew and support employees.
- Safely returning to our ports: Many of the ports we fly to had no or limited activity during the pandemic. As travel has rebounded, we have restarted activity to those ports (and some new ones) by making sure our partners were ready for flights.
- Safe growth: The Qantas Group has announced orders for a range of new aircraft. The team selecting those aircraft has made sure we consider safety in our preparations; thinking about technology available to improve information pilots receive, to improve data the aircraft measures, aircraft performance, and to ensure that people using the aircraft (cabin crew stowing luggage, or ground crew loading bags) have a safer experience.
The safety and wellbeing of our customers and people is our highest priority. The Qantas Group’s FY21 performance for Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate improved compared to the prior year, while our Lost Work Case Frequency Rate was slightly higher. We remain committed to minimising the risk of workplace injuries, including those associated with mental health risks.
Our Fly Well program included a number of temporary and existing wellbeing measures to safeguard travel during the pandemic, to give our customers peace-of-mind at each point of their journey across our Australian domestic, trans-Tasman and international networks.
Our Work Well program drives a coordinated approach to maintaining COVID-safe work environments, ensuring compliance with government restrictions and minimising the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus between employees, contractors and passengers during operations.
Our Supporting Fitness for Work program is designed to help manage health-based risks in the operational environment, and to support employees more generally through injury or illness, including accommodating disability and diversity when there is a health component. The program covers both work-related and non-work-related conditions. It covers the occupational lifecycle from recruitment, ensuring that employees have optimal health, as well as any necessary accommodations and support. It also includes a collaborative process for managers to ensure favourable safety, healthcare and support return-to-work outcomes for existing employees with physical and/or mental health conditions, and/or adverse social circumstances.
The Group has a structured employee wellbeing and mental health program which has the dual focus of understanding and protecting our people from wellbeing and mental health-related risks, along with amplifying the opportunities for our work to positively impact on our wellbeing and mental health. Our Wellbeing program is designed to foster an environment that supports, enables and motivates our people to live healthier, happier and more productive lives. During the pandemic, our Wellbeing program expanded from a focus on traditional areas of health and wellbeing — physical health, nutrition, sleep, exercise and mental health — to include financial wellbeing, healthy relationships and digital wellbeing.
The aviation industry continues to face complex threats from individuals and organisations globally.
Qantas works closely with the Australian Government and overseas agencies, regulators, law enforcement and its global partners across the industry to proactively monitor and manage threats and risks. We are at the forefront of improving security outcomes for customers and employees by operating within a security framework that is proportionate, agile and responsive to changing threats and risks across our network.
Qantas Group Security and Facilitation participates in several domestic and international committees to refine security measures, to plan for and acquire enhanced security equipment and to establish world best practices in aviation security.
The Group is keenly aware of the risk posed by ‘trusted insiders’ – people who seek to use privileged access provided in the context for doing their jobs to facilitate illegal activities, such as transporting illicit substances. There are multiple safeguards to prevent and detect this activity and on several occasions over the years we have worked closely with law enforcement to apprehend those involved. During 2021, the Group was vocal in its support of legislation that will enhance these efforts in future.
Together with our government and industry partners, some of the key security improvements in FY22 were:
- Renewed security awareness training for all employees and contractors
- Renewed freight security training for all freight employees and contractors
- Enhancing the relationship between the Group and Australian Federal Police (AFP) Air Security Officers
- Collaborating with overseas regulators and airport authorities to enable the resumption of international operations
- Participating in the government’s review of the Australian security regulatory framework
- Continuing Qantas’ collaboration with the Australian Government on cyber security to proactively monitor emerging threats, and to enhance the protection of our people, customers and assets.
- Enhanced security measures for the smaller regional (domestic) cargo shipments in accordance with new Australian requirements
Data security and privacy
Like most industries, the aviation sector is dependent on data, systems and networks and we take our customers’ trust in the security of their personal data seriously. The Qantas Group is constantly improving its cyber capabilities as part of its overall data and privacy protection. Like many large organisations, we operate in an environment of ever-evolving cyber threats, where external attackers are always adopting more sophisticated techniques. Protection from these attacks — and the potential financial and public reputation implications associated with unauthorised access to the information we hold — is key.
We are continually working to expand employee awareness of evolving data security risks, including through ‘no notice’ simulations and structured training. The need for shared vigilance on cyber issues is supported by formal recognition of employees who help detect attempted cyber scams.
Risk assessments are conducted on relevant third party suppliers and we work with them to address any material risks identified. Read about our approach to risk management.
Across the Group, we are responsible for handling a substantial amount of personal information. We collect, share, use, store and process personal information in accordance with an ever changing and increasingly complex landscape of both international and domestic laws and regulations. We acknowledge our responsibility to protect and maintain the privacy rights of individuals, and to maintain the security and the value of their personal information.
There is ongoing investment to improve the resources, processes and technology that will support the Group to effectively address the volumes of personal information that we manage, and to meet both intensifying regulatory requirements and individuals’ rising expectations regarding fair, ethical and responsible data use. A Group data privacy, ethics and governance function has been established to assist us to better ensure personal information is handled fairly, ethically and responsibly. The Group is committed to raising awareness of our privacy compliance obligations and to manage our privacy risk by implementing a culture that considers ‘privacy by design’ as a default position when handling personal information.
In ever-increasing times of uncertainty, the resilience of an organisation plays a significant role in effectively meeting market demands and supporting the delivery of strategy. The business resilience framework assists the Qantas Group in the preparation for, and recovery from, adverse incidents affecting the business and our interests.
Today’s business environment is characterised by rapid, unpredictable change that brings demands in responding to a variety of challenges. While ensuring the Qantas Group had an effective platform to respond to the consequences of COVID-19, the Group ensured it also maintained a resilience capability to respond to events as we recovered.
The ability to respond seamlessly to events that impact the Group is fundamentally important in ensuring continued Group operations in the event of a discontinuity of service, mitigating risks and minimising disruptions to our customers.
We comply with government and regulatory agencies to integrate risk strategies through a holistic approach ensuring a robust framework is in place to counter any crisis management, contingency planning and business continuity event.
We’ve overcome many obstacles in our long history and this is because we’ve quickly responded to changing environments and worked hard to produce the right outcome – helped by the resilience of our people and their commitment to the national carrier.
Group Business Resilience enables the Qantas Group to take a holistic and coordinated approach to crisis management, contingency planning and business continuity. We ensure the safety and welfare of our people, the protection of our reputation and the maintenance of critical services.
Due to the investments made in resilience, the capability continues to be strengthened through the successful integration of external stakeholders ensuring the Group continues to possess a sophisticated holistic response and recovery system.