australian aviation logo

Qantas ‘can’t be trusted’ to buy Alliance, says TWU

written by Adam Thorn | September 27, 2022

An Alliance Embraer E190AR, VH-UYW, as shot by Victor Pody

The TWU has said Qantas “cannot be trusted” to compete fairly with rivals if it were cleared to acquire charter and FIFO specialist Alliance.

In a submission to the ACCC regarding the proposed takeover, the union said the move would increase fares for customers and stop new airlines from entering the market.

Australian Aviation reported in August how the competition watchdog raised concerns in its preliminary report into the purchase, raising doubts as to whether the deal would be allowed to continue. The ACCC is currently inviting feedback from affected parties ahead of a final decision due on 17 November.

On Tuesday, the TWU released its letter to the organisation arguing that Qantas has a “long history of undermining competition” by deploying its market dominance to “overwhelm competitors”.

“Qantas’ track record is poor,” said Michael Kaine, the TWU’s national secretary. “Its role in the capacity wars with Virgin Australia (Virgin) resulted in Qantas imposing unilateral wage freezes on its workforce after being refused a bailout from the Government.


“At the start of the pandemic, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce actively lobbied against the Federal Government stepping in to prevent Virgin from collapse, which would have resulted in a Qantas monopoly, saying the Prime Minister should not ‘pick winners and losers’.

“After this remark, Qantas benefitted more than any other company in Australia from JobKeeper wage subsidies before illegally terminating its entire ground handling and cleaning workforce.”

Kaine continued that Qantas had “not only lost its social license to operate but also proven that it cannot be trusted to compete fairly”.

Specifically, he argued the move would allow Qantas to build a fleet of aircraft that “cannot be matched by other airlines” and increase market share at the expense of Virgin.

Qantas said in August that it believed the takeover would not hurt the “highly competitive charter segment”.

The business’ group executive of associated airlines, John Gissing, argued, “As the ACCC has previously acknowledged, customers in the resources flying segment are sophisticated and well-resourced companies with procurement expertise who have strong bargaining power in their negotiations with airlines and other operators.

“The resources sector continues to grow and any new tender for airline services will be very competitive. It makes a lot of sense for us to combine with Alliance to improve the services we can offer, which is a positive for both airlines as well as the travelling public.”

If agreed, the deal would mean Qantas would purchase all of Alliance Aviation three years after acquiring a 19.9 per cent stake in the carrier.

It was shortly followed by rival Rex purchasing FIFO operator Cobham, as major airlines looked to invest in reliable FIFO (fly in, fly out) services during the difficult post-COVID-19 recovery.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

Comments (9)

  • Rocket


    This bloke should just shut up.

    Qantas got a very high JobKeeper because it had more employees than most Australian companies.

    Virgin STARTED the capacity war, it was instigated by their CEO at the time.

    Of course it was correct for Qantas to object to Virgin being bailed out because it would have distorted the market. Virgin has scooped up Tiger (an abject failure since they bought it), SkyWest (which they effectively gutted and then contracted the flying or much of it out to Alliance) and they sold their Loyalty business then had to pay three times as much to buy it back, while losing their major shareholder who became impatient will billions of $$ going out and nothing coming back in.

    So, yeh, completely mismanaged on an industrial scale and of course they shouldn’t have been bailed out, unless Qantas, Alliance, Rex, et al were afforded proportionate assistance as well. We all know Qantas got no bail out and neither did Virgin but Rex ensured it squealed loud enough via it’s Deputy Chair who managed to get a couple hundred million $$ out of his NP mates who were in government at the time on the basis of maintaining their regional routes, then went and used the money to buy 737s.

    Does the TWU leadership never read a newspaper or examine facts??

  • michael hourigan


    Tell me again how many businesses the TWU has run?

  • Vannus


    Typical TWU interference in a QANTAS business matter.

    Remember well when a TWU person said in August 2011 that they ‘wanted to bake QANTAS slowly’.
    That proves what nasty thinking, the TWU hierarchy has.
    The TWU strikes’ from that month until end of October 2011, lost the airline one million $ a day.
    Their repulsive actions’ were only stopped when CEO Alan Joyce & the Board grounded the fleet.

    That was something the moronic TWU persons’ never saw coming.

    Interestingly how the TWU hasn’t said anything negative about Rex buying Cobham. Why not?
    That’s very hypocritical of Kaine, methinks.
    What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander Kaine.

    They’re irrelevant in the 21stC, but they still are thinking with 20thC mindset.

  • Pete


    It’s called a free market!

  • Michael Brosnan


    QANTAS can’t be trusted period.

  • Ashley


    The only untrustworthy grouping is the TWU.

    They’ll say anything to get QANTAS into hot water, as that suits their pathological hatred of the airline since Oct 2011.

    And to think one of that group is now a senator in NSW. Does not say much about the voters’ there.

    They’ve no right to butt into a private company making business decisions’. It’s none of their goddamn business.

    Hopefully the ACCC will approve QANTAS’ further purchase of Alliance, & put TWU’s letter where it deserves to be……in file 13!

  • JB


    Short term it generally goes like this.
    In regional Queensland when there is competition the fares are really really low and everybody flys Qantas!
    Then the competition cannot keep up with the prices and stops flying!
    Then finally the fares go through the roof!

    Townsville – Cairns was $69-$99 then virgin leave it $160 on sale $199 + other times!!!
    Townsville Mt Isa is worse! Its cheaper to fly Brisbane to Rome than anywhere to Mt Isa

    Will the same thing happen if Qantas takes over Alliance??????

  • Rod Pickin


    It is abundantly clear that the T.W.U. has a non supportive agenda for Qantas which is also noticeable with their cute choice of words when highlighting Qantas actions about which the T.W.U. does not approve. I accept and approve of our “Free speech” abilities but believe that the T.W.U. has overstepped the line separating fact from allegation on some occasions which would reflect badly upon them. Remember, on both sides of the political scene, if you can’t win on fact, put s..t on someone, it works all the time!

  • Clipped Wing


    Kaine sure seems to make a career out of bagging Qantas. One would think that one would want to try to work with the airline as a partner with a vested interest rather than taking every opportunity to dig the knife in. I guess getting his name in the media may be enough for some to think that he is doing something in his job.

Comments are closed.

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.