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Network Aviation pilots call off weekend strike at WA government’s request

written by Jake Nelson | February 21, 2024

Network Aviation operates QantasLink’s A320s and Fokker 100s in Western Australia. (Image: Victor Pody)

Network Aviation pilots have called off planned strikes over the weekend after a request from the Western Australian government.

In a statement, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots said Simone McGurk, WA Minister for Industrial Relations, had met with a union representative to request the work stoppage not go ahead over the weekend due to the risk posed by ex-Tropical Cyclone Lincoln in the state’s northwest.

“I advised that given there may be a need to quickly evacuate workers and community members, that Network Aviation’s services are likely to be required,” the minister told media.

“While I respect the right of the union to take protected industrial action, given these unique circumstances, I expressed my view that a pause in industrial action would be welcomed.

“I acknowledge and thank AFAP for taking immediate action.”


AFAP senior industrial officer Chris Aikens said the union had asked members to resume flying Network Aviation’s charter, FIFO, and scheduled QantasLink flights from Thursday to Sunday.

“In light of this request from the State Government, and with Network pilots clearly not wanting to place the public at any risk, the AFAP has just written to the company to confirm that the four-day stop work scheduled for 22-25 February will now not take place,” he said.

“The AFAP will monitor the situation regarding any possible future action once the current threat has passed. However, we remain open to meeting with the company in the hope that it can offer something that will be acceptable to this pilot group.”

Network pilots have extended industrial action several times over the past few weeks, saying a proposed 25 per cent pay rise by the Qantas subsidiary was insufficient and demanding conditions more in line with other Qantas Group pilots elsewhere in Australia.

Qantas last week flew in 737s and charter planes from other airlines to break the strike, while AFAP pilots demanded to meet with new QantasLink CEO Rachel Yangoyan directly.

The Flying Kangaroo has denied “walking away” from negotiations and has taken an intractable bargaining application to the Fair Work Commission in the hopes of expediting an end to the impasse.

previous one-day strike in October last year grounded half of the Flying Kangaroo’s flights within the state, forcing it to redeploy 737s and turn to other charter operators to fill the gap. Network pilots had planned a second strike that month, but backed down after a breakthrough in mediation.

Network Aviation operates more than 300 weekly flights, with regular services from Perth Airport and charter flights for mining, corporates, and emergency freight.

It was bought by Qantas in 2010 and operates a fleet of more than 30 aircraft.

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