Almost one year after the QF32 incident, Qantas is again in the news around the world and for a short time again appeared to be on the brink of a major disaster. At 5pm on Saturday the 29th of October, Alan Joyce (CEO of Qantas) announced that he & the board of directors had decided to ground all of Qantas’ domestic & international flights (about 108 aircraft). This unprecedented step disrupted the travel plans of almost 70,000 passengers in order to avoid a “death by a thousand paper cuts” due to ongoing damage from industrial disputes with three unions.
The three unions represented the pilots, engineers and baggage handlers working for Qantas’ “mainline” operations. The Jetstar, QantasLink and JetConnect operations were not involved in the grounding.
We have assembled a collection of discussions with a number of people involved in the disputes or monitoring it from the outside. It is our intention that we provide you with an overview of what has happened, why it happened and where things might go from here. Unlike the commercial broadcast media, our time is not rigidly controlled so our guests are able to take their time to explain their views & concerns without being restricted to sound bites.
While we also express our own views during this episode, we have tried to present enough information for you to get a better understanding of the situation & form your own decisions.
The discussions in this episode include:
- Captain Richard Woodward, Vice President of the Australian & International Pilots Association (AIPA)
- Warren Truss, leader of the National Party and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
- Steve Purvinas, Federal Secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA)
- Independent Senator Nick Xenophon from South Australia
- Dick Smith, an entrepreneur, pilot and past chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Civil Aviation & Safety Authority (CASA)
- Shashank Nigam from Simpliflying, a consultancy specialising in aviation branding & social media
- Ben Sandilands from the Plane Talking blog & Will Horton from the Centre for Aviation, both aviation journalists focusing on the Australasian market
We’d also like to thank Colin Lipiatt, the Manager of Coporate Communications at Virgin Australia, for taking the time to chat with us about their ability to quickly respond with extra capacity to help affected travellers. While we couldn’t include him in the show, he provided plenty of useful information for us.
While putting this episode together we did attempt to contact Qantas’ media department to arrange a representative who could talk to us about the items raised during the discussions listed above. Unfortunately we did not hear back from them and can only assume that, like Anthony Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure & Transport), they were too busy dealing with the big issues and the mainstream media to spare any time for us.
We trust that you’ll enjoy this special episode of content specifically covering the Qantas Grounding situation. It’s been a marathon effort to arrange & record the interviews then put it all together for you. It has certainly been educational & eye opening for us as we discussed the issues with our guests, and that’s got to be a good thing :)