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Qantas pilots union reaches in-principle agreement with airline over long-haul flying

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 28, 2015

An artist's impression of a 787 in Qantas colours. (Boeing)
An artist’s impression of a 787 in Qantas colours. (Boeing)

The union representing Qantas’s long-haul pilots have reached an in-principle agreement with the airline that includes an 18-month pay freeze and provisions for any potential Boeing 787-9 order.

The long-haul enterprise agreement suggests Qantas is a step closer to exercising its options and purchase rights for the Dreamliner.

While the new deal did not significantly change the terms and conditions relating to Qantas’s existing fleet, notwithstanding the 18-month wage freeze followed by an annual three per cent increase, Australian International Pilots Association (AIPA) president and Qantas pilot Nathan Safe said there were some new provisions on potential 787 flying included.

“The most notable feature of the proposed EA is the inclusion of a new set of terms and conditions for the introduction of Boeing 787s into mainline should the board make the decision to purchase these aircraft,” Safe said in a update to members.

“These changes have been based around building a viable business case for the type of ultra long range flying capable of being performed by the 787.”

Qantas chief pilot Dick Tobiano said in a message to staff the terms and conditions for a “new type” was the most exciting aspect of the in-principle agreement.

“This will potentially lead to new investment with a net hull increase, growth and promotional opportunities for our pilots,” Tobiano said.


The company has 50 options and purchase rights for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Meanwhile, Qantas’s low-cost subsidiary Jetstar has taken delivery of eight 787-8 aircraft, with a further three due to arrive before the end of September.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has laid out a number of conditions that had to be met before the airline made a decision on the new generation aircraft.

These included the return to sustainable profitability of Qantas’s international operations, reducing debt and establishing appropriate conditions with staff.


“We are talking to our employees about getting that aircraft business case to work for us going forward,” Joyce said at Qantas’s first half results presentation in February.

“We and everybody in Qantas wants to see those aircraft coming in but the aircraft have to make the right returns, have to be brought in under the right conditions and have to be brought in when the balance sheet of Qantas is strong enough to take it.”

Safe said the long haul enterprise bargaining agreement would be reviewed by the AIPA committee next week and, if approved, be then put to a formal vote of the membership.

He said AIPA’s negotiators reached the agreement with the company in “remarkably quick time” due to what he described as a new approach to bargaining.

“We have been pleased with the quality and tone of negotiations since they began earlier this year and we note the unprecedented level of transparency and sharing of commercially relevant information,” Safe said.

Comments (5)

  • Dane


    Is the AIPA considered a union style organisation?

  • Craigy


    Very much a union. Don’t let the name fool you.

  • jasontaylor


    Finally some common ground between QANTAS and a union. Maybe the unions have realised their significant and unsustainable demands of the past have ultimately cost their members jobs, and maybe QANTAS has realised that it needs to work with the unions in a more conciliatory manner. Have they both been observing the successes of AIR New Zealand by chance.

  • Tim


    Boeing 787s don’t make sense for Qantas, A330neos for domestic and Asian mid haul where the 789s range isn’t needed and A350s to replace 747s to complement Qantas’ A380 long haul fleet.

  • John R


    Qantas badly need an airframe which is smaller than a A380 and can fly to Dubai from Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane (and I’d hope Canberra, where I live, but that might be a bit hard). Bad mistake a few years ago (pre-Joyce) to miss out on 777 – Emirates is doing very nicely on those sectors with 777s, and I know plenty of people in those cities resentful of being abandoned by Qantas international. So, should it be 787s, or A350s – or even lease some 777s from e.g. Emirates? Don’t know, or care much, so long as the capability gap is plugged soon!

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