Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has announced that go slow action and overtime bans by the company’s Australian Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (ALAEA) members has caused it to ground five domestic aircraft for one month from October 17.
Joyce said the grounding is necessary because insufficient maintenance is being worked on the airline’s fleet, meaning flights were being delayed because of the maintenance backlog. He said it takes about 15,000 hours per week to keep the domestic fleet operational, but there was a shortfall of about 1200 hours or eight per cent due to the ALAEA members’ actions.
“This means a number of aircraft are not available each day which has caused a decline in schedule reliability,” Joyce told media on October 13. “On-time performance has fallen from 87 per cent four weeks ago to 77 per cent today. This is not a safety concern as problems are addressed before planes fly. But it is causing ongoing and unplanned disruption to our customers.”
The aircraft to be grounded are all Qantas mainline domestic aircraft comprising four 737s and one 767, and the action will mean 97 fewer mainline flights per week will be flown between Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Joyce refused to rule out the possibility of further groundings if the maintenance backlog continues.