It is perhaps no surprise that one of the unions representing Virgin Australia’s pilots, the Virgin Independent Pilots Association (VIPA), has come out in support of the airline and its CEO, John Borghetti, but what is perhaps surprising is the strength of the language it has used to do so, with a statement saying that the days of a national carrier “are over”, and fingering Qantas for “capacity dumping”.
“Qantas must surely realise that due to globalisation, the days of a national carrier are long gone – that’s why Qantas cannot continue to be propped up by Australian taxpayers,” VIPA president Captain John Lyons argued.
“Qantas and its shareholders would be better served by stopping its capacity dumping, where its 65 per cent line in the sand stance has seen two Qantas group flights added for every one Virgin flight.”
Capt Lyons said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce should stop “crying poor”, observing that, “Australian pilots have continued to watch the Qantas Group take advantage of the globalisation of the aviation industry for many years now, with a seemingly endless list of foreign-based ventures, closing maintenance operations and offshoring jobs, airline shutdowns and the devaluing of an experienced Australia workforce.”
VIPA executive director Simon O’Hara explained why his union had chosen to enter the public debate over foreign government investment in Virgin and level playing fields: “It is important for Virgin pilots to enter into this current debate as we believe Virgin Australia’s continued growth will result in a stronger, more competitive aviation market across domestic and international routes.”