Qantas will offer its Boeing 767 and 747 pilots voluntary redundancy as the airline retires older aircraft from its fleet.
The Australian and International Pilots Association, which represents Qantas pilots, says it will seek a “fair and reasonable” redundancy package for those affected.
“AIPA is now negotiating with the company to ensure the voluntary redundancies offered fairly reflect the typically long years of quality service invested by Qantas pilots,” AIPA president Nathan Safe said in a statement.
“Obviously from AIPA’s perspective it is far better to see fleet reductions managed with older pilots stepping out on their own terms, rather than younger pilots being made redundant compulsorily.”
It is the first time Qantas has offered pilots voluntary redundancy.
In recent years, the airline has allowed pilots to take leave without pay and work for other carriers such as Jetstar or Emirates as a way of dealing with having excess pilots.
Safe, who is a Qantas Boeing 737 pilot, said AIPA had commenced a survey of its members and would present their views to the company during negotiations.
“We will be pushing for a figure that we believe will attract sufficient interest within the limits of what is financially reasonable and possible,” Safe said.
“Otherwise the process is wasted.”
Qantas planned to retire its remaining 14 Boeing 767 aircraft by March 2015, according the airline’s presentation to the Macquarie Australia conference on May 8.
In addition, three Boeing 747s were also due to leave the fleet by December, with a further three to go by early 2016.
“With the number of these aircraft reducing significantly over the next few years the simple fact is that we need fewer pilots,” Qantas chief pilot Captain Dick Tobiano said in a statement.
“As well as a voluntary redundancy program we will also continue to direct accrued leave and facilitate leave without pay to assist in managing the surplus.”
The redundancies are part of the 5,000 jobs the airline is cutting between now and 2017.
It was understood Qantas was targeting about 100 voluntary redundancies from the pool of about 550 pilots who fly the 767 and 747, as it sought to turnaround a $235 million loss for the six months to December 31, 2013.
A separate voluntary redundancy process was already underway for cabin crew.