The chief executive of Qantas Airways has accused pilots of threatening the future of the Australian flag carrier. Alan Joyce said he refused to give in to “outrageous” pay demands of pilots, who are poised to take their first strike action in 45 years following the collapse of negotiations last week.
Joyce told ABC television that the demands from the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) would cost the airline more than Aus$300 million (US$320 million).
“We believe that some of the demands that are being put on the table are outrageous,” he said.
“There are certain demands I cannot concede to because it will endanger the survival of the company into the long run.”
Asked whether the carrier’s future was at risk due to the union action, Joyce replied:
“It is at that stage. Our international business is losing money. Our international business, if these demands are met, will go backwards even further.”
“It’s not good for their members, it’s not good for employees, it’s not good for our customers and we’re going to have to stand up to them.”
Joyce also said the business would need a radical shake-up as it grapples with declining market share.
“Our market share internationally is down to 18 percent, our market share in Asia is down to 14 percent,” Joyce said. “We need to change the business in order for it to be successful.”
Richard Woodward of the AIPA told the ABC that the strike was about protecting jobs and ensuring these were not moved to cheaper hubs in Asia.
“This is not about wages, it’s not about money at all, it’s about a future for our pilots,” he said.