Qantas Grounds Itself

The Australian airline Qantas has taken the unprecedented step of grounding all of its international and domestic aircraft due to ongoing industrial action. This action will disrupt the travel plans of tens of thousands of Qantas passengers. The best way to explain from their action is to quote directly from the Qantas media release:

Qantas today announced that, from 8pm AEDT on Monday 31 October 2011, it will lock out all employees who will be covered by the industrial agreements currently being negotiated with the Australian Licenced Engineers Union (ALAEA), the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Australian and International Pilots Union (AIPA).

This step is being taken under the provisions of the Fair Work Act in response to industrial action taken by these unions. The financial impact of action taken to date has reached $68 million and the action is costing Qantas approximately $15 million per week in lost revenue. Approximately 70,000 passengers have been affected and more than 600 flights cancelled.

Pilots, licenced engineers and baggage, ground and catering staff are essential to Qantas operations and the lock-out will therefore make it necessary for all Qantas aircraft to be grounded. For precautionary reasons, this will take place immediately (as at 5pm AEDT, Saturday 29 October 2011).

Aircraft currently in the air will complete the sectors they are operating. However, there will be no further Qantas domestic departures or international departures anywhere in the world. This will have an estimated financial impact on Qantas of $20 million per day.

The lock-out will continue until the ALAEA, the TWU and AIPA drop the extreme demands that have made it impossible for agreements to be reached.

Jetstar flights, QantasLink flights and Qantas flights across the Tasman operated by Jetconnect will continue. Express Freighters Australia and Atlas Freighters will also continue to operate.
Requirements for employees are as follows:
– Until the lock-out commences, all employees are required at work as normal and will be paid.
– Once the lock-out commences:
– employees who are locked out will not be required at work and will not be paid.
– employees working overseas will not be locked out and will continue to be paid.
– all other employees are required at work and will be paid as normal.

Customers booked on Qantas flights should not go to the airport until further notice. A full refund will be available to any customer who chooses to cancel their flight because it has been directly affected by the grounding of the fleet. Full rebooking flexibility will be available to customers who wish to defer their travel.

Assistance with accommodation and alternative flights, as well as other support, will be offered to customers who are mid-journey.

Customers should monitor qantas.com for the latest updates. The latest information will also be posted on Qantas’ Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Only customers travelling within the next 24 hours should call Qantas contact centres (on 13 13 13) [note: this number is for people in Australia only].

Qantas regrets that this action has become necessary and apologises sincerely to all affected passengers.

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