Qantas to Get Families Away on School Holidays

Sydney, 30 June 2011

Qantas will put on bigger aircraft and have extra staff at airports next week to minimise disruptions to passengers from strike action by the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA)

Qantas will consolidate services and put larger Boeing 767 aircraft on some routes in and out of Melbourne on Monday 4 July. This will ensure the vast majority of customers remain on scheduled services and others can be moved onto flights within 15 minutes of their original departure time.

The ALAEA is taking strike action as part of negotiations for a new pay agreement. The union is demanding unreasonable pay increases and perks and demanding no changes be made to work practices which improve productivity.

Qantas Group Executive Operations, Lyell Strambi, said Qantas would contact affected passengers over the weekend to inform them of the changes.

“We apologise to families and other customers who may be impacted by the union action. We are doing everything we can to get families to their destinations as quickly as possible and minimise disruptions,” Mr Strambi said.

“Most people are surprised that the union is going on strike over the school holidays and while services are still being impacted by the volcanic ash cloud. If the union is serious about not disrupting the travel plans of Australians then they should call off the strikes immediately.

“We want to reach an agreement with our licensed engineers, and are willing to negotiate reasonable increases in pay and conditions, but we simply cannot agree to all of the union’s demands.

Qantas is currently assessing the impact on services from 2 hour union-led work stoppages union in Perth on Tuesday 5 July and Brisbane on Wednesday 6 July.

In May, the ALAEA organised a one hour strike for Qantas licensed engineers across Australia, This strike action was pulled at the last minute but only after travel plans had already been disrupted.

Mr Strambi said claims by senior union officials that Qantas was offshoring all of its maintenance and stopping safety checks were not true.

“Qantas does 90 per cent of aircraft maintenance in Australia. All maintenance, regardless of where it is performed, is done at facilitates that have been approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), following the same Qantas system of maintenance and overseen by Qantas engineers.

“Qantas always applies its high safety standards and we will continue to do all safety checks in accordance with the requirements of CASA.”

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Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (5142)