Regional airline passengers and workers arriving and departing flights will face further disruption as pilots working for a Qantas subsidiary vote to take further industrial action.
The Australian Air Pilots Federation said on Friday its members working for Network Aviation and QantasLink in Western Australia would leave their jobs on Wednesday and Thursday amid stagnant pay negotiations.
Qantas Group said it was disappointed by the pilots’ decision to go on strike for the second time in less than a week and that passengers’ travel plans would again be disrupted.
“We are reviewing schedules and planning contingencies to make sure our customers can get where they need to go,” a spokeswoman said.
Members of the Australian Air Pilots Federation who work for Network Aviation and QantasLink in Western Australia were expected to leave their jobs on Wednesday and Thursday as pay negotiations stalled.
The airline said it would contact affected customers and they could make changes to their flights free of charge or request a refund.
Qantas Group was forced to rebook travelers on Jetstar, Qantas and charter flights on Thursday after Network Aviation canceled 35 flights due to a 24-hour pilot strike.
About 95 percent of regular customers and about 70 percent of charter customers were able to fly.
The pilots’ federation previously said Network Aviation had “walked away from the negotiating table” and its members were left with no option but to strike.
A Network Aviation pilot, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the airline’s pilots were angry with the company for its handling of the negotiations.
“For them, the fundamental thing is the cost factor,” the pilot told AAP.
‘They think we deserve less than other pilots who fly for Qantas.
“I am working for a company that calls itself the best in the market and does not value us and I feel cheated.”
The pilots union has been trying to negotiate an enterprise agreement for pilots with Qantas Group for 18 months to replace their previous pay agreement, which expired in 2020.
Network Aviation said pilots had previously been offered and rejected pay increases of more than 25 percent plus annual increases of three percent, new assignments and increased staffing protections.
The union rejected the claim.
The airline submitted an intractable negotiation request to the Fair Work Commission on Monday to help establish a new enterprise agreement with its pilots to break the deadlock.
Affected customers will be contacted and will be able to make free changes to their flights or request a refund.
A meeting between the parties is scheduled for Friday.
Network Aviation pilots walked off the job during pay negotiations for 24 hours in early October, leading to the cancellation of more than 40 flights to and from regional cities and mining sites.
The airline, which is wholly owned by Qantas, is WA’s leading charter company for the mining industry, operating hundreds of flights a week.
It also employs local pilots for the airline’s regional arm, QantasLink.
More than 90 percent of its more than 250 pilots are members of the pilots’ federation.