Qantas’s biggest pilot union has called for chairman Richard Goyder to step aside, saying morale has “never been lower”.
The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) has written to new CEO Vanessa Hudson to inform her of its position. This is the first time in the AIPA’s history it has called on a Qantas chair to quit, and it comes after apologies by both Goyder and Hudson in recent weeks.
In a statement, AIPA president Captain Tony Lucas said Qantas badly needs a “culture reset”, and doubted this could happen with Goyder as chairman.
“Richard Goyder has overseen one of the most damaging periods in Qantas history which has included the illegal sacking of 1,700 workers, allegations of illegally marketing cancelled flights, and a terribly managed return to operations after Covid-19,” he said.
“The morale of Qantas pilots has never been lower. We have totally lost confidence in Goyder and his Board.
“Despite overseeing the destruction of the Qantas brand, Goyder last week accepted a near $100,000 pay rise – taking his pay to $750,000 – while staff are expected to accept a two-year wage freeze. This is a galling and tone-deaf decision.
“Qantas is more than just an airline – it is a symbol of national pride and trust. For our great national carrier to flourish, it needs leadership from a Board that understands the value of its employees, respects its customers and can win back the trust of the nation.”
Goyder last week defied calls to step down, saying the board and major investors remain behind him.
“While I retain that confidence I’ll get to work and do the things we need to do to deal with some of the issues we’ve got at the moment. The latest read I’ve got is that people want me to continue to do the role,” he told ABC radio.
“Shareholders are very supportive of the work we’re doing now.”
Goyder did admit Qantas has “some work to do” and “has let people down” in terms of customer experience.
“I think in hindsight, we tried to come out of the COVID lockdowns too rapidly. That was probably a combination of us wanting to get people back to work and us wanting to get our customers to places that they hadn’t been able to get to as borders reopened,” he said.