The Australian Financial Review today (4 Jan 2012) reports that Qantas may perform its first every round of mass redundancies of long-haul pilots - if international operations continue to hemorrhage money. The AFR bases this view on:
- information that 150 long haul pilots have taken up a company offer of leave-without-pay and taken up temporary positions with competitor airlines
- reduced flight hours available to pilots because of cutbacks in numbers of international flights
- an extimated excess of 400 pilots 'in the next few years if incoming aircraft are deferred or diverted to other business units such as the growing Jetstar franchise . . .'
- New Boeing Dreamliner aircraft will not go to Qantas International - unless returns improve
- Alan Joyce - Qantas CEO has not ruled out pilot redundancies
Qantas through its spokesperson counters that offering leave-without-pay when they have an overcapacity of pilots is a common practice amongst international airlines.
The comments by Andrew Cleary are worth reading. In essence he suggests that lack of investment by Qantas to expand its international operations while competing airlines as well as partner airlines steal market share is at the heart of the problem.