With workers resorting to industrial action all over the country, Qantas Airways has cancelled 70 flights, which is bound to impact approximately 10,000 passengers. The airline says the strike is costing it $15 million a week.

Qantas Airways is forced to cancel 70 flights in the midst of another series of strikes by its ground workers. The Australian airline said that more than 10,000 passengers will face delays on Friday with workers walking off the jobs at airports all over Australia.

It really has been a tumultuous time not only for the airline but also for the passengers who book air tickets with the carrier, especially those who book cheap flight tickets. Qantas Airways has been struggling with months of strikes by unions representing aircraft pilots, mechanics, baggage handlers and caterers. Different unions are concerned that the airline is planning to move jobs offshore. Better pay and work conditions are some other demands of the union members.

Qantas estimates about 70,000 passengers have been affected by the recent months of industrial action.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said unions had to put “more realistic” demands on the table.

“We urge the unions to stop this, to put to the table more realistic demands and to think about the jobs they’re endangering around the country,” he told the Nine Network.

“We’ve always said we want to do anything that will stop this disruption happening to our passengers – again I apologise to those customers that have been impacted by this.”

Meanwhile, scores of union members are expected to be present at the Qantas AGM to raise their concerns as employee shareholders.

“Engineers, like many other employees at Qantas, can’t understand why plans to offshore jobs and sack 1000 people are being rewarded with cash bonuses and fat pay cheques to the CEO and management,” Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA)’s federal secretary, Steve Purvinas was quoted by different news portal as stating.

Dispute Costing Qantas A$15 Million a Week

Qantas Airways said the prolonged labour clash had cost it A$68 million until now, and a further A$15 million per week in lost revenue. The airline also said that the situation has resulted in a drop in advance bookings with the all-important Christmas holiday season drawing near. Passengers across all travel segments, be it budget travellers with cheap flight tickets on mind or premier class travellers, all have been left wondering regarding the viability of booking flights with Australia’s flag carrier.

Qantas claims that the industrial action, initiated by the licensed engineers’, pilots’ and Transport Workers’ unions, has cost the carrier more than the Chilean volcanic ash cloud.

Alan Joyce said the state of affairs is now very grave and is impacting company as well as passengers.

“This drawn-out and co-ordinated industrial campaign by these three unions is now having a major impact on Qantas,” Joyce said in a statement on Friday.

“$68 million is a significant impact on the company and the costs will continue to rise.

“In comparison, the impact on Qantas from grounding aircraft during the recent volcanic ash cloud was $49 million.”

Australian Govt. to Intervene?

Industrial action by ground staff today has made the voices demanding Federal Government intervention louder. Industry experts and travel agents say it is high time authorities got involved.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said the government will step in if the strikes begin to threaten the economy of the country.

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