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Qantas grounds further 767s due to “union action”

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 18, 2011

Qantas is grounding two 767s. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas says it is being forced to park a further two Boeing 767-300s from next Monday due to the backlog of maintenance work caused by industrial action by its maintenance engineers, and has warned more aircraft groundings may be necessary.

The airline says removing the two 767s from its fleet will mean a further 80 flights will be cancelled over the next month, removing capacity of 20,000 seats across its domestic network, mainly on flights between Perth and the east coast.

“The ongoing action from the licensed aircraft maintenance engineers’ union means we do not have the manpower to fulfil all of the necessary maintenance on our fleet of aircraft,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said. “The industrial action has caused a shortfall of more than 60,000 man hours of maintenance and this is increasing on a daily basis, forcing us to ground aircraft.”

But the ALAEA, the union which represents Qantas maintenance workers, has accused Qantas of lying about the latest groundings, saying Qantas announced plans to dispose of the two 767s earlier this year.

“Maybe he should have removed the internal Qantas paperwork that said that they were grounded for disposal… They announced in April that these aircraft were going to be sold,” news.com.au reports ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas as saying.


“Alan Joyce is full of lies and the sooner he starts being honest with the employees, the public and the shareholders, the quicker Qantas will get back on track.”

Qantas says it is now taking seven aircraft out of its fleet, forcing it to cancel 500 flights and remove 88,000 seats from its domestic network over the next month.

“If this overtime ban continues, we will be grounding even more aircraft,” Joyce said. “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 airline says its on-time performance has fallen to 75 per cent this week.

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Comments (12)

  • Jeff


    It’s all very convenient to say that you are going to park the 737’s and 767’s and all this missed revenue and in convincing the customers but hey,These aircraft are old and not up to what Qantas should be supplying in today’s market .Let’s face it,Even the 747 400’s are old.Qantas although making good profits haven’t been keeping up with the joneses so to speak in their backyard.They say that they have been let down by the late arrivals of the 787 Dreamliner. They just have let their name and Standards slip poorly that they aren’t the automatic choice of Australians anymore. Alan Joyce needs to wake up.

  • Tom


    Unfortunately for QANTAS the sad truth is that if the only real reason people fly them now is out of habit for business. I think once the toll of this industrial action is taken, and VA’s product gains momentum QANTAS will notice a steady decline in numbers beyond the small piece of the pie that VA is currently aiming to secure, especially amongst domestic business travellers. Lets face it the international service is great but the domestic service, even in business class, is pathetic on all but a few east-west flights. Qantas needs new planes and most importantly new interiors, because the 300-or-so people who i know that fly regularly, have just got their status matches and are thinking about making the permanent change just like I am.

  • Greg


    Qantas was a great airline in the past,the baton has now passed on to Jetstar and i assume the new qantas brands that will open in Asia.Qantas really stopped being a international airline many years ago.Having codeshares on other airlines does not make you an international airline.The only real thing it does, is show how far ahead other airlines are ahead of QF in upgraded products etc.As a silver FF i am trying VB over the next couple of months,as i don’t want to get stuck somewhere, and if there is indeed a change in the air,i will be tranferring my loyalty to them.

  • rod


    Creative figures from the accountants that run QANTAS … at least one of the 767’s has no Kangaroo on its tail … awaits flying away to the desert …

  • Michael


    It is regrettable that Qantas now sings the corporate mantra of profits before people. With a CEO who has no genuine emotional attachment to the airline and to its history, decisions will continue to be made that damage the loyalty the airline has strived to build over the past ninety-six years. It seems that Alan Joyce is intent on doing to Qantas what Geoff Dixon, Margaret Jackson and their endorsed Private Equity Bid almost succeeded in doing four years ago. It will be a sad goodbye to an airline that once did represent the Spirit of Australia but now would do better to change the flying kangaroo logo to a $ symbol. The good news is that under former Qantas executive John Borghetti, Virgin looks set to become the new Spirit of Australia.

  • Andrew McLaughlin


    Michael – both Qantas and Virgin are answerable to their shareholders before their employees, so both will usually put dollars before people. Perhaps the difference isn’t the message, but the delivery?

  • Ruch


    Andrew, many observers are disconnecting profits from people as you appear to have done with your comment. Most shareholders would recognise that value is very much tied up with people. There is nothing more valuable to a service provider than it’s people. The Virgin brand has a long history of valuing its people & VA appears to be continuing in this vain. Qantas does not. Perhaps this goes part the way to explaining why QF shares went down after announcing a profit, and VA shares went up after announcing a loss?

  • Ian


    I hope Virgin has plenty of aircraft on order. After the unions destroy Qantas like they did Ansett, Virgin is going to have a hell of a load to carry. Then we will have to listen years of whinging from thw “workers” as we also did with Ansett. Not one of them is prepared to look at the consequences of their greed

  • Peter Krawitz


    Mr Joyce should take a hard look at air new zealand. If he wants a quality airline then value the people that you have.Cost cutting? Well Mr Joyce if you pay peanuts you are going to get monkeys. Cost cutting for shareholders back pockets does not work in aviation. Has Mr Joyce taken a salery cut to show his concern for dropping profits?

  • random


    A mediator needs to sit down with the airline and its staff, and then start with a novel position – let’s assume you’re BOTH right – now what do we do about it before the general public gives up on both of you?!

  • random-Australian Aviaiton Reader


    Qantas is a good airline but not great, on the other hand Air NZ is, great new generations of aircraft (Boeing 777-300ER, ATR-600 on order + launch customer of the Boeing 787-9), it also has the loyalty of staff and great new inovations, Top airlines need these and Qantas is not one of them, New A380’s are just not good enough, they may be a new Aircraft but new aircraft along with ancient (25 year old) aircraft does not mix.
    Staff loyalty is a contributing factor to airline marketshare-which also Qantas is dramatically losing.
    One thing is for sure is that Qantas will have to lift it’s game, before other airlines takeover.

  • Geoff


    Oh Mr Joyce, I am sure it’s not all about money ! Whats the real reason ? What the hell is going on in your mind and the minds of your board ? The Richard Branson empire is just lurking in the background and awaiting the right time to make the ultimate and final pounce.

    Qantas has been the Spirit of Australia since the 1920’s and now with what I read in the papers and see on TV, not to mention the condition of the paint on some of the aircraft I feel the once great Qantas is becoming an embarising eye sore to the world.

    I have been a Qantas loyle frequent flyer for years but I have now joined Virgin’s Velocity program and I will be now flying what I would call the new Australian Flag carrier.

    It sadens me to say this but if the truth hurts then so be it.

    Good By Qantas.

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