Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, has been grilled at a Senate inquiry in Sydney over the grounding of the entire Qantas fleet last Saturday.

And in further bad news for the airline engine trouble has forced a Qantas A380 flight from Singapore to London to land in Dubai.

Jessica Sier reports.


Mr Joyce maintained the decision to ground the entire Qantas fleet was his alone and that he had been reacting to the threat of a 40 hour walk out by workers.

Alan Joyce, CEO Qantas: “I brought it to a head, Senator, and I do apologise to all of those 90,000 that were impacted by it, but we had to bring it to a head because we were going to have so many more hundreds of thousands of customers over the next year and Qantas would never have got them back.”

The inquiry heard that Senator Nick Xenephon’s proposed amendments to the Qantas Sale Act would cripple the airline, restricting its growth into the booming Asian market.

Bruce Buchanan, Qantas Group: “This would put an additional burden on the Australian carriers, wouldn’t put an additional burden on anyone else and seriously tip the competitive landscape against Australian carriers and therefore destroy Australian jobs.”

But the competitiveness of the changing global market was not something Transport Workers Union Secretary Tony Sheldon was interested in discussing.

Instead Mr Sheldon outlined the difficulties unions have had regarding pay negotiations with Qantas.

Tony Sheldon, Transport Workers Union: “The board has made a number of considered decisions that would antagonise their own employees and many people across the community.”

Qantas now faces the task of recouping the massive losses those rolling strikes have caused, and finding a way of recovering the airline’s haemorraghing international sector.

The proposed amendment to the Qantas sale act may well limit the airline’s capacity to recover.

Jessica Sier, QUT News