Qantas plane

Qantas back in the air after shutdown

Qantas will resume domestic and international flights from this afternoon, after CEO Alan Joyce announced on Saturday all planes would be grounded as a result of ongoing industrial action.

Overnight, Fair Work Australia (FWA) ruled unions must end their series of strikes, which Joyce said were destablising the company.

“We will be getting our aircraft back up in the air as soon as possible. It could be as early as Monday afternoon on a limited schedule,” Joyce said.

On Saturday afternoon, Joyce said ongoing industrial action was “trashing” the airline’s strategy and brand and destablising the company. In response, he said he had to the “only effective avenue at my disposal to bring about peace and certainty.”

“I announce that under the provisions of the Fair Work Act Qantas will lock out all those employees who will be covered by the agreements currently being negotiated with the ALAEA, the TWU and AIPA.”

Joyce said individual reactions to the lock-out decision may have been “unpredictable”, and he had to ground the fleet as a precautionary measure.

On Saturday afternoon, FWA stepped in after the government became involved and applied that the dispute be terminated.

The FWA held a marathon 12-hour hearing into the matter yesterday. It ruled at 2am this morning that all industrial action should come to an end and gave Qantas and the unions 21 days to settle the dispute and reach a binding agreement. If this doesn’t happen, the FWA will force a compulsory arbitration.

The decision to ground the fleet on Saturday left some 70,000 passengers stranded around the world, and Qantas scrambling to find accommodation and alternative flights for those mid-journey.

Virgin, Richard Branson’s airline, was quick to pick up the slack created by the Qantas shutdown, adding more seats for sale and offering discounted tickets to those customers stuck locally.

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