Safety - our first priority

Our commitment to a healthy, safe and secure environment for our people and customers.

Our approach

We’re always focused on creating a healthy, safe and secure workplace by preventing injuries, illness, accidents and incidents through effective safety management systems and risk controls, quality processes and a strong safety culture.

Each Qantas Group business operates integrated management systems that satisfy safety, health, security and environment legislative and regulatory requirements.

Our safety and security activities are supported by robust governance processes to ensure performance and risks are monitored. 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’.

engineers working on aircraft

Operational safety

Aviation remains the safest form of travel. To maintain this, the entire industry needs to keep collaborating on safety issues of common interest.

Our operational safety performance is strong and the Group maintains a positive reporting culture. Throughout an exceptionally challenging period for the aviation industry, the Group continued to deliver safe aircraft operations and to share our experiences in operating safely in a global pandemic with other airlines. Notable examples include:

  • Safely return to the skies: The impact of COVID-19 and associated border closures in early 2020 meant the airline had to rapidly ground the majority of its fleet. During this period, the Group developed new maintenance schedules for all our aircraft and a comprehensive restart program to ensure safe and reliable operations when national border restrictions were lifted. Throughout the pandemic, the Group maintained its focus on crew training, ensuing the highest of operational standards were maintained.
  • Bringing Australians home and supporting exporters: In partnership with the Australian Government, the Qantas Group helped repatriate Australians from all parts of the globe during the pandemic. Starting in February 2020, the Group has safely operated hundreds of charter flights, including to many COVID hotspots that required development of special protocols. We have also maintained vital transport links with Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste. In addition, the Group has operated thousands of flights to move critical freight and produce globally, which has supported more than 130,000 jobs in export industries.
  • Collaboration: With multiple airlines making up the Qantas Group, it’s important that we continue to learn from each other. Steering Committees are established across key operational areas, including Flying Operations, Ground Operations, Cabin Operations and Airworthiness, to drive a program of strategic initiatives which identify and build on success stories in one business to drive improvement across the broader Qantas Group.
Jetstar and Qantas plane tails

People safety

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 and Lost Work Case Frequency Rate both improved compared to the prior year. We remain committed to minimising the risk of workplace injuries, including those associated with mental health risks.

Our Fly Well program brings together 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 and trans-Tasman 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.

All Qantas Group employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19Opens external site as part of our commitment to safety. Having a fully vaccinated workforce will safeguard our people against the virus but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to.

The Qantas Group provides paid time off to make it easier for employees to get vaccinated.

Our Fitness for Work program is designed to help manage health-based risks in the operational environment. The program commences at recruitment, ensuring the hire of employees that have optimal capacity to perform the inherent requirements of their roles. 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.

The Group has a structured mental health and wellbeing program focused on promoting good mental health, reducing stigma and raising awareness. It also provides education and tools to better understand and support those with mental health challenges and provide dedicated mental health assistance programs and services for those with concerns. The Group continues to invest in this important area of health, particularly in light of the broader social and economic challenges caused by COVID-19.

engineers working on aircraft

Operational security

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 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 FY21 were:

  • Enhanced security measures for regional (domestic) cargo shipments in accordance with new Australian requirements.
  • Continued collaboration with government and airport operators on security enhancement initiatives at Australian Airports including plans to upgrade security technology.
  • Assisting the Department of Home Affairs to strengthen the checks and balances for holders and future applicants of an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC). This includes the future introduction of ‘live’ background checking of ASIC holders. 
  • Working with international bodies to develop and implement a digital health platform to enable the safe resumption of international flying.
  • Conducting numerous repatriation and freight flights on behalf of the Australian Government to various countries, some associated with higher security threat levels that required careful security risk management in collaboration with government partners.
  • Deepening 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.
Female Qantas link crew checking propeller

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. 

Business resilience

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 has an effective platform to respond to the consequences of COVID-19, the Group has ensured it has maintained a resilience capability to respond to events beyond this pandemic.  

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.