AIPA: Qantas is outsourcing the ‘Spirit of Australia’

“Qantas’s decision to wet-lease two Finnair aircraft is shocking, bitterly disappointing and could have been avoided with more effective management decisions.”

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The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) said is bitterly disappointed and frustrated by Qantas’ decision to wet lease two Finnair aircraft. The Finnair aircraft will take Qantas passengers from Sydney to Singapore and Sydney to Bangkok using Finnair crew and pilots for two and a half years.

AIPA President, Captain Tony Lucas, said the appalling decision to outsource Australian jobs is a significant failure of management. “Qantas’s decision to wet lease two Finnair aircraft is shocking, bitterly disappointing and could have been avoided with more effective management decisions,” he said. “It beggars belief that Qantas is outsourcing the Spirit of Australia while simultaneously converting two of our own A330 passenger aircraft into freighters. The decision to wet lease illustrates the failures of the fleet planning processes of the last five years and certainly recent decisions made during the pandemic recovery. Not only is it disappointing for our hardworking and dedicated pilots but it is also disappointing for loyal Qantas passengers. Using the words of Qantas, stepping onto one of its aircraft is supposed to ‘feel like home’. Sadly this won’t be the case for passengers on these flights. Getting another carrier to operate our routes is also significantly more expensive than operating the services within Qantas. This is a sad day for our great airline.”

Qantas earlier announced it will boost its international network with extra flights, more aircraft and new routes as it restores capacity in line with strong travel demand and the broader recovery of the aviation industry.

From late October 2023, the national carrier will add around one million seats to its international network over 12 months compared to its current schedule, offering customers more choice to popular destinations across Asia, the United States and the Pacific. The additional capacity will be made possible through a combination of more Qantas aircraft returning to service, new aircraft joining the fleet and an arrangement with oneworld partner Finnair to operate two Airbus A330 aircraft on two Qantas routes.

The network changes will see the group’s international capacity grow to around 100 percent of pre-COVID levels by March 2024, up from 44 percent 12 months ago and 84 percent today.

Over the past six months, Qantas has brought five international aircraft back into its fleet – some from long-term storage and some that were on standby as operational spares while the industry stabilised. A new Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrived in May and another two will be delivered next month. The latest Qantas A380 stored in the desert was reactivated in January and an additional A380 will return to service at the end of the year following maintenance and modifications to the cabin.

“The rebound in demand for international travel since borders reopened has been incredibly strong and this boost to our network will add hundreds of thousands of seats in time for the busy Australian summer holiday period,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. “Qantas has been the most on-time major domestic airline for the past eight months in a row and that improved performance means we can release some of the aircraft we’ve had in reserve. That reflects more parts of the aviation supply chain returning to normal and it’s a huge credit to the hard work of our people across the group. While airlines globally are working to restore capacity to meet demand, there is still a mismatch between supply and demand for international flying. But with more of our aircraft back in the air, new 787s joining our fleet and our contract with Finnair, we’ve got more seats for our customers and more opportunity for Qantas crew as we increase our own flying.

Meanwhile, Brisbane Airport welcomed three route announcements from Qantas which will boost Queensland’s connectivity and will fully restore one of Brisbane’s most important tourism markets.

Qantas said it would start a new route from Brisbane to Wellington from 29 October; a new route from Brisbane to Honiara, Solomon Islands from 29 October; the current Brisbane to Tokyo service will grow from three times per week to daily from 26 November and operate from Narita Airport instead of Haneda Airport;  Capacity between Brisbane and Tokyo is currently at 43 percent of pre-COVID levels but will jump to 100 percent when the services grow to daily flights.

New Qantas training centre breaks ground
Construction has started on a new flight training centre in Sydney, which will train up to 4,500 Qantas and Jetstar pilots and cabin crew each year from early 2024. The multi-million-dollar facility will be home to up to eight full motion simulators including for the Airbus A350, the aircraft that will operate non-stop flights from Sydney to London and New York.

The purpose-built facility in St Peters near Sydney Airport will also have flight training devices, aircraft cabin mock-ups with emergency procedures equipment, and classroom and training facilities.

Senior Qantas and Jetstar training captains will train pilots from the two airlines while global training provider CAE will maintain all simulators and training equipment, and manage the centre’s day-to-day operations as part of a long-term agreement.

Qantas and Jetstar pilots typically do four simulator sessions per year to remain current in their formal qualifications and up to 15 sessions when training for a new aircraft type.

Qantas relocated its simulators from Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane in 2021 to make way for the NSW government’s Sydney Gateway road project. Sydney-based pilots currently travelling interstate will be able to do training in their home state when the new facility opens in early 2024.

Developed by Asia Pacific property specialist LOGOS Property Group, the project is being custom-built and will be the first training facility of its kind in Sydney. The facility will span approximately 7000m2 over three floors, built with around 150 tonnes of steel, 4500m3 of concrete and complex specialist infrastructure for flight simulators, and will create around 250 jobs in its delivery.

The Qantas Group expects to create more than 8,500 highly skill jobs in Australian aviation over the next decade as it takes delivery of hundreds of new aircraft and grows its network. This includes 1,600 new positions for pilots and 4,500 new roles for cabin crew, with many to be trained at the new facility.

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  1. With Finnair doing the service (wet-lease), Australians might be able to experience a higher and better quality service on board than they have been used to up to now. At the end it might be a win-win situation for all


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