Qantas maintenance dispute escalates

Qantas passengers could have their travel plans disrupted by industrial action over the carrier’s plans to send more maintenance work offshore. Staff have told unions three 747s are booked in for work in Asia and that Qantas has threatened to send more from its Brisbane base if industrial action proceeds, Fairfax newspapers report.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said on March 10 that the airline would not send engineering work to Asia for at least two years.

But he also said Qantas would move its Sydney operation to Melbourne.

The airline confirmed yesterday it had booked a Boeing 747-400 aircraft in for work in Singapore next month, as part of the transition.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary Doug Cameron said workers would meet today over what is regarded as a company about-face, with industrial action likely.