Qantas cancels more domestic flights

Qantas says it has cancelled 400 domestic flights over the next month following the grounding of five aircraft.While the airline blames the disruptions on strikes by engineers resulting in a backlog of maintenance work, the engineers’ union says it’s a shortage of spare parts that has held up operations.Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth told reporters in Sydney on Saturday that ongoing industrial action by the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association is slowing down our business and it’s creating a backlog of maintenance.Ms Wirth said the ALAEA’s cancellation of strike action, announced after a four-hour stoppage on Friday, was like putting a bandaid on the shark bite.

There is industrial action ongoing, there are overtime bans, they are the things that really hurt us – it is damaging our business, she said.The real damage has already been done, it’s ongoing and it’s in place until December.ALAEA spokesman Peter Somerville said the airline was shifting the blame following Friday’s cancellation of any further strike action until after Qantas’s annual general meeting on October 28.The reason those aircraft are grounded is lack of spare parts. it’s not the industrial action,Mr Somerville told AAP on Saturday. They are waiting on spare parts and they are blaming the union.

Mr Somerville said the 400 cancelled flights amount to only three per cent of the total number of domestic and international flights the airline operates every month.Is Qantas is seriously saying that they can’t run an airline with 97 per cent of their fights operating? he said.Ms Wirth said she could not put a monetary figure on the cost of the industrial action so far, but said it had already resulted in the loss of 60,000 man-hours.The groundings would result in 15,000 less seats on domestic flights every week over the next month, she said.Qantas has not ruled out grounding further aircraft in the coming months.Something has to give this is going to damage our airline and we are going to have to make some very difficult decisions going forward,Ms Wirth said.

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