Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Unhappy Qantas pilots over reregistering aircraft

There may be pilot trouble ahead for Qantas.  It appears according to local media that pilots of the Australian airline are more than just a little unhappy with the carrier's plans to fly Australian aircraft with lower-paid pilots employed by a subsidiary in New Zealand.

The antipodean airline will be operating operate extra flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and Auckland from March 2018 when code-share partner Emirates reduces its A380 trans-Tasman services.

We're being told that Qantas is converting seven Boeing 737 aircraft it has registered in New Zealand through its sister company Jetconnect to the Australian Qantas operating licence. However, pilots employed in New Zealand by Jetconnect will be the ones flying those Australian registered planes - making it the first time Qantas has regularly used 'foreign' employed pilots on local aircraft.

It is a move that has angered some of the flight crews in Australia,  with a pilots union saying Qantas is shifting to a model of using overseas crews working on lower pay and worse conditions than their Australian counterparts.  "This is not dissimilar to the Ryanair or Norwegian [Airlines] models that deploy contract crew, on varying conditions in bases around their network. -  The Americans and Europeans have fought long and hard against this model and we must guard against its emergence in Qantas."  Australian and International Pilots Association president Captain Murray Butt said in a letter to union members.

According to a Qantas spokesperson, pilots from Jetconnect would till only fly the same routes they already do, across the Tasman Sea. They would not operate domestic flights in Australia.   

The spokesperson reiterated that changing the registration of its 737 to Qantas' Australian Air Operators Certificate was simply a measure to better utilise the aircraft. "By registering these aircraft in Australia instead, we could make much better use of this down time by flying domestic sectors in between flying to New Zealand,"

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