Flight disruptions in Western Australia as Qantas Group pilots strike for six days

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Travellers in Western Australia will face cancellations and delays this week as pilots at Qantas subsidiary Network Aviation walk off the job for six days.

Members of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) who fly domestically in the state for Network Aviation were initially scheduled to strike for three days before extending the action by another three days this week.

They will now strike from Wednesday, February 14 to Monday, February 19.

AFAP said its members made up 90 per cent of the more than 250 pilots employed by Network Aviation and were eligible to take part in the industrial action.

The airline, which is based at Perth Airport, specialises in chartering FIFO workers to and from mine sites, and also operates regular passenger services under the QantasLink banner.

To limit the impact on passengers, Qantas said it would use larger aircraft for Network Aviation flights during the first few days of the strike, including three Qantas Boeing 737 aircraft and charter aircraft from other airlines.

The company said about 25 return flights had been cancelled on each of Wednesday and Thursday as a result of the strike, but the change in aircraft would allow more than 80 per cent of Network Aviation passengers to travel on the same day they were booked.

It said AFAP advised of the further three days of action on Tuesday afternoon and more contingency plans were being developed.

Customers can make fee-free changes to their flights or get a refund if they no longer wish to travel.

Network Aviation chief operating officer Trevor Worgan claimed the strike over the next few days was “targeting” those flying to and from mine sites, and therefore the WA economy.

“The strikes planned over the weekend will mainly impact Western Australians travelling to

regional towns across WA including places like Geraldton, Broome and Kalgoorlie,” he said.

“We are pulling out all stops to help get most customers to their destination on the same day,

whether that’s to see family and friends or get to-and-from a mine site.”

AFAP listed the seven following terms and conditions as what it has put to the company:

• Two-hour (not 90 minutes) sign-on from reserve, as is common in the industry and in compliance with the Air Pilots Award 2020

• 6:00am (not 4:00am) start after a day off as for pilots at other Qantas/QantasLink operations and in compliance with the Air Pilots Award 2020

• Duty travel in a Business class seat (where available) to improve the opportunity for rest and Fatigue Management

• Same Duty Hours Allowance as for pilots at other Qantas/QantasLink operations

• Overtime increased using the same formula as for pilots at other Qantas/QantasLink operations

• Ten Rostered Days Off as for pilots at other Qantas/QantasLink operations

• Revised rostering appendix providing better rostering rules

AFAP Senior Industrial Officer Chris Aikens said the pilots had their last pay rise in 2019.

“We remain keen and willing to meet with the company’s management to arrive at some improvements in terms and conditions for the lowest paid jet pilots in the Qantas Group,” he said.

“Network Aviation pilots in Western Australia fly the same aircraft on similar routes and just want to be treated like other Qantas pilots.”

Qantas argued Network Aviation pilots “fly significantly less” than other Qantas Group pilots due to its large focus on intra-WA charters to support the mining industry.

“We’ve been working to reach a new agreement for 18 months and want our pilots to start

receiving pay increases of more than 25 per cent that we have offered,” Mr Worgan said. “We’ve been clear that we cannot offer more.”

Read related topics:PerthQantas

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