Qantas Doesnt Want Foreign Airlines on Domestic Routes

17th Apr 2017

As an Australian parliamentary committee is looking to allow foreign airlines to operate on domestic routes, one local airline is firmly against it. Qantas Airways has told the committee that it should not allow overseas carriers to operate domestic routes here.

According to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development submission, the Australian government is looking to increase global liberalization and protect national interests at the same time.

Cabotage, said the department, could be used in certain cases, like servicing routes not operated by domestic carriers.

Qantas warns of potential job losses as well as safety risks from carriers "operating in lower-cost safety regimes with different standards".

In its submission to the comitee, signed by Qantas Group executive Andrew Parker, the airline said that the cabotage, or the practice of providing access to domestic transport markets by overseas carriers, could have serious economical, operational and employment risks. In addition, Parker also said that cabotage would damage the country's future position in any air service negotiations.

He said:

"Put simply, this would be a disastrous trade negotiation strategy and deny Australian airlines a clear measure of certainty around which they can base long-term investment planning."

When it comes to safety concerns, the department acknowledged that overseas carriers operate under their home country's safety regulations and said in a submission:

"The current policy of generally reserving the Australian domestic market for Australian-based airlines ensures domestic airlines all operate on the same level playing field in relation to industrial relations and taxation, as well as the safety and security oversight of the Australian government."

ATSB Investigates Qantas Hong Kong-Melbourne Incident

Meanwhile, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is conducting an investigation into the Qantas incident in which 15 people got injured.

During a flight from Melbourne t Hong Kong last week, a pilot detected airframe buffeting about 100km from destination and a "stick shaker" alert occurred. The crew turned off the autopilot to regain control of the Boeing 747 and eventually landed in Hong Kong.

However, 15 passengers experience minor injuries and had to be treated.

Qantas spokesperson confirmed the incident, saying:

"Customers on QF29 experienced unexpected in-flight turbulence when travelling from Melbourne to Hong Kong on Sunday. We notified the ATSB of the occurrence, and our own teams are also reviewing the event."