Pilots and management must stand together if Qantas is to overcome challenges

Pilots and management must stand together if Qantas is to overcome challenges

As the Australian and International Pilots Association and Qantas management prepare to go before Fair Work Australia today, AIPA has urged management to start working with Qantas pilots and staff to overcome the myriad challenges currently being faced by the airline.

AIPA Vice President Captain Richard Woodward said the nature of arbitration meant neither party would get everything sought, but regardless of the outcome it was vital for Qantas management and Qantas pilots to work together in 2012 and beyond.

“The primary goal of Qantas pilots throughout this entire dispute has always been the long term viability of Qantas. Our careers are inexorably linked to the airline’s success,” Captain Woodward said.

“We believe Qantas will only succeed for the next 90 years if it retains world-class, highly-trained pilots in the cockpit. The fight for us has never been about pay or conditions; it has been about keeping Qantas pilots behind the controls of Qantas aircraft.

“But we are also aware that Qantas faces a range of extremely tough challenges in the modern environment. It is currently forced to compete in Australia against airlines that are wholly owned and propped-up by foreign governments. When Qantas receives essentially zero support or assistance from its own government that makes things very, very tricky. Recently we have seen one of those state-backed airlines purchasing a stake in Qantas’s Australian competitor, Virgin. This muddies the waters even further.

“Qantas does not need handouts to compete, but it could do with some help to level the playing field. For example, aircraft depreciation rates are much quicker in countries across Asia and the Middle East.

“Just a couple of weeks ago, the Federal Government passed reforms that level the playing field for Australian ships, which have faced rapacious competition from similarly advantaged foreign-owned vessels. Zero per cent company tax rates and accelerated depreciation will now help the Australian shipping industry compete into the 21st century.

“Qantas is Australia’s national carrier. It is the backbone of the nation’s multibillion-dollar tourism industry. Its continued viability is unarguably every bit as important to the national interest as shipping. In my personal view, it is even more important.

“AIPA will always fight for the interests of Qantas, but we would far prefer to be fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with our management. After all, our long term interests should be completely aligned. There are tough battles ahead that will require a unified effort.”