Qantas pilots threaten to go on strike

The Southern Hemisphere’s largest airline may find itself grounded in the coming weeks, if pilots agree to carry out a strike.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), the union representing Qantas pilots, will meet on Friday, February 10 to determine whether to go ahead with the strike. The meeting was scheduled after the airline rejected the union’s demands for a pay increase and measures to ensure job security.

Qantas has consistently rated as one of the world’s better airlines. Besides an enviable safety record, which Dustin Hoffman adamantly reminded us of in Rain Man, they typically provide great customer service, quality food, and a fantastic in-flight entertainment system. However, with competition from Asian carriers who can get away with paying lower salaries to their flight crews and domestic no-frills low cost airlines, it is questionable how long they can operate as is as a premium long-haul airline. Qantas may now face the unenviable choice of either alienating their pilots or their customers. Either way, both AIPA and Qantas must seriously rethink their strategies.