All Qantas flights grounded worldwide until further notice

Qantas boss, Alan Joyce has grounded its entire domestic and international fleets indefinitely until unions can reach an agreement with the airline.

All Qantas flights grounded worldwide until further notice

Qantas boss, Alan Joyce has grounded its entire domestic and international fleets indefinitely until unions representing pilots and ground staff can reach an agreement with the Australian airline over pay and conditions.

The airline has been forced to ground aircraft and reschedule flights for weeks because of ongoing strike action by the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) and Transport Workers Union (TWU) – representing engineers, ramp, baggage and catering staff.

The strikes have been over pay and concerns that their jobs are being moved overseas.

The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) – which represents the airline’s long-haul pilots – has not staged a strike to-date, but has been seeking clauses in working agreements to ensure that flights are operated by Qantas pilots instead of jobs being outsourced.

Tensions have been escalating since the airline announced a restructuring plan in August, involving the loss of 1,000 jobs affecting management, engineering, pilots and cabin crew.

Joyce told a press conference on Saturday that Qantas can no longer meet the unions’ “impossible demands,” with accruing losses from industrial action costing the airline A$15m a week.

The airline’s decision to ground all flights with immediate effect comes as the union representing baggage handlers and crew said they were meeting this weekend to consider more strike action.

“They are trashing our strategy and our brand. They are deliberately destabilising the company. And there is no end in sight.”

Joyce said: “The unions’ industrial campaigns are designed to scare away customers.

“They are trashing our strategy and our brand. They are deliberately destabilising the company. And there is no end in sight.”

The airline said it will lock out Australian staff from 8pm (local time) on Monday until further notice.

Joyce said: “If this action continues as the unions have promised, we will have no choice but to close down Qantas part by part.

“It goes without saying that this would have very grave consequences for jobs.

“Killing Qantas slowly would be a tragedy for Qantas and our employees.

“But it would also have a terrible domino effect right across Australia, affecting businesses large and small, tourism, freight and families.

“We have got to achieve a resolution to this crisis.”

The Australian pilots association criticised Joyce’s decision.

“It’s unprecedented and really it has hijacked the nation. It really has put everyone on notice and… it’s forcing the government’s hand on this,” Barry Jackson of the Australian and International Pilots Association told Sky News.

“We really need to address this sooner rather than later and get the aircraft back in the air.”

Update for travellers

The airline’s decision has not affected QantasLink or Jetstar flights which are operating as normal.

Flights currently in the air will complete their journey.

According to Qantas’s Facebook page, customers booked on its flights should not go to the airport until further notice.

The airline said customers whose flights have been affected by the grounding will be given a full refund or have the option to defer their booking until a later date.

Qantas advises customers to check its website – Qantas.com – for updates.

Virgin Australia said it will accommodate Qantas passengers on existing services where possible and is looking at putting on additional services to support travellers.

The carrier said it will offer special “Stranded Passenger” recovery fares for passengers who hold a Qantas ticket and are trying to get home. Tickets are subject to availability.

Qantas passengers eligible for “Stranded Passenger” recovery fares are advised to visit the Virgin Australia website: www.virginaustralia.com.

TERMINAL U will provide further updates when new information emerges. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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