Qanta's Plan to Hire 170 New Pilots Meets Pilot Union's Approval

24th Feb 2016

Qantas' plan to hire no less than 170 new pilots is meeting some much needed approval from the pilot union who said this is 'just the tip of the iceberg', given how Qantas is upping its performance lately.

On Tuesday, the Australian carrier announced plans to hire 170 new pilots within the next three years, all in preparation of introducing a new Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner fleet from the 2017-18 financial year.

President of AIPA (Australian and International Pilots' Association and Qantas pilot himself Nathan Safe said:

The outlook for our members will always be brighter if they are flying for a profitable airline which is expanding its network and bringing on new aircraft types. We believe this will be the tip of the iceberg as far as pilot recruitment is concerned now that Qantas has made substantial improvements to its bottom line."

Back in June last year 88 per cent of AIPA's 1300 members voted 'yes' on a new 4-year enterprise bargaining agreement. The package did not bring much change when it came to terms and conditions regarding The Flying Kangaroo's current fleet (except for a 18-month pay freeze, which would be followed by a 3 per cent annual increase), but did include new provisions on potential B787 flying.

Following the agreement, Qantas soon met three self-imposed criteria that were required before the company would consider purchasing rights for an order of eight new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The criteria included:

? Return to sustainable profitability of Qantas International

? Repaying 1 billion dollars' worth of debt

? Establishing staff conditions that would allow the business case for the new type of the plane stacked up.

Mr. Safe also said:

"Our members approved the long-haul EBA last year in the knowledge that Qantas would then take the decision to upgrade its fleet. This aircraft has the capability to open up opportunities for new direct services, providing new opportunities for Qantas and its pilots. We expect current Qantas pilots will be keen to make the transition to the Dreamliner."

Qantas Begins Building New Heathrow Lounge in September

Meanwhile, Qantas has revealed that it will build a new lounge in the Heathrow Airport in London. The construction will start in September this year and should be opened in 2017.

The lounge will be located in Heathrow's Terminal 3 and will be able to accommodate 230 people. Eligible for the lounge will be: Qantas first and business class passengers, Qantas Club members, Gold or higher members of the Frequent Flyer program and passengers traveling in tiered cabins on Qantas' partner airlines with a 'QF' code.

CEO of Qantas Alan Joyce commented on the new lounge:

"The Kangaroo Route is at the heart of Qantas' identity and London remains one of our most important destinations. We want the first dedicated Qantas lounge at Heathrow to be something special. Our lounges in Australia and overseas are often named among the world's best. Customers love them and we take regular improvements based on what they tell us they'd like to see next."