Not content with having the Last Post played over public address systems during negotiations, the Australian & International Pilots Association (AIPA) confirmed earlier it would be taking its protest at Qantas to the next surreal level.
Speaking near the site of a new billboard in Neutral Bay, Sydney, AIPA spokesman Nathan Safe explained the first round of industrial action would see pilots using in-flight announcements to push their agenda.
“AIPA has given Qantas management notice today it will be commencing unauthorised in-flight announcements on Qantas long-haul flights,” said Safe.
“I want to stress these announcements will be brief and they will be positive.
“After all, Qantas pilots are attempting to defend the brand they care deeply about.”
Some 1,700 pilots at Qantas voted to take industrial action for the first time since 1966 last month in a dispute over job security.
AIPA officials argue Qantas is seeking cut costs by moving pilot positions to subsidiaries based overseas.
“We know that the biggest wake-up call we can send the current management team is to blow the whistle on their plans to strip a proud Australian icon down to its bare bones and shift operations to Asia,” added Safe.
“When Australians board a Qantas flight, they expect a Qantas pilot at the controls. AIPA’s initial campaign is going to focus purely on raising awareness of the fact that this very basic expectation is under threat.”
Qantas said the announcements were not expected to cause flight delays or cancellations.
“Qantas’ priority is always to our customers and we are disappointed that the pilots’ union would intentionally disturb customers’ in-flight experience to make a point during an industrial dispute,” the airline said in a statement.
The airline added union demands that Qantas remove a clause in pilots’ contracts potentially allowing the airline to outsource pilot positions to cheaper bases in Asia would drive up airfares, cost jobs and make Qantas unprofitable.