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Old December 10th, 2005, 12:28 AM   #361
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Qantas passengers braced for new year turbulence
Scott Rochfort
10 December 2005
The Sydney Morning Herald

QANTAS passengers face widespread disruption next month, with thousands of maintenance workers threatening to down tools over the national carrier's plans to cut wage conditions.

Enterprise bargaining talks between Qantas and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Australian Workers Union have broken down over the airline's attempt to reduce shift and overtime penalties for maintenance staff.

"Qantas have announced this position, and it's an outrageous position," said the assistant NSW secretary of the AMWU, Tim Ayers. "The talks won't go anywhere until Qantas start to adopt a realistic bargaining position."

The AMWU says the airline's demands would equate to maintenance workers losing up to 20 per cent of their take home pay. "We are going to strongly resist any attempt to claw back the family income of out members," Mr Ayers said.

The AMWU and AWU represent about 2100 Qantas maintenance workers.

"We think it's critical that Qantas get around the table and resolve this issue before the expiry of the agreement," Mr Ayres said. The unions' current two-year agreement with Qantas expires on December 31.

The national secretary of the AWU, Bill Shorten, said: "We don't want a fight with Qantas but we're ready for one. "The jury is out whether Qantas wants to have a big fight or not. I just hope that cool heads prevail."

Mr Shorten said the AWU was not going to trade-off the wage conditions of any of its members.

Under the current agreement workers receive a weekly allowance of $11.20 a week if they work in afternoons or night.

The base pay for a first year apprentice is $297.62 a week, with a base $539.26 a week being paid to the lowest grade of maintenance worker a week.

Qantas did not deny it wanted to cut penalty rates, but its executive general manager for people, Kevin Brown, said it only wanted "changes ... that will enable to allocate work ... more effectively in line with volumes in work".

Mr Brown said the claims sought by the AMWU would "significantly add to our cost base in an industry were there are massive redundancies" and competitive pressures from government-owned foreign carriers.

Mr Shorten said: "Morale is low among the Qantas workforce. They are proud in the Qantas brand but not in the current management."

He said Qantas should not be seduced by new workplace legislation. Unions fear Qantas could use the part of the legislation that allows employers to write up their own workplace agreements - without union endorsement - if they set up new subsidiaries. There are concerns Qantas could do this with its new low-cost carrier Jetstar International.

Unions have disputed comments Qantas's chief executive, Geoff Dixon, that the airline is only keen to improve efficiencies rather than cut workers' pay.

The AMWU said it had "scoured" Qantas's demands and found nothing to do with efficiency gains, only pay cuts.

Qantas has also warned it will have to base most of its maintenance operations overseas if it can't cut local costs.
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Old December 10th, 2005, 06:48 PM   #362
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Gas cylinder forces airliner to make emergency landing

SYDNEY, Dec 10 (AFP) - Australian airline Jetstar Saturday urged police to charge a passenger who carried a gas cylinder onto an aircraft, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing when the gas began leaking.

Two crew and six passengers were taken to hospital with minor breathing problems after fumes leaked into the cabin on an Airbus A320 flying from the Queensland state capital Brisbane to Cairns in the north on Friday evening.

"After commencing flight, some of our customers and a couple of cabin crew were feeling nauseous so our captain returned the aircraft to Brisbane and asked for an emergency landing," a Jetstar spokesman said.

"We determined this morning that one of our passengers checked in a small gas cylinder. In that gas cylinder, there was obviously a compound that has changed its state in flight due to altitude and has emitted a fume which made some people nauseous."

The gas cylinder is believed to have contained butane, widely used in small camping cookers and lamps.

Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway told national radio the airline would push for charges to be laid.

"It's up to authorities to determine what action they should take but a dangerous good was carried onto our aircraft and did cause significant disruption to our passengers," Westaway said.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 04:12 AM   #363
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Sydney Airport loses but won't concede
Scott Rochfort
13 December 2005
The Sydney Morning Herald

MACQUARIE-controlled Sydney Airport has refused to concede defeat in its three-year battle with Virgin Blue over landing fees.

The airport said yesterday it was still considering whether to appeal against an Australian Competition Tribunal ruling which said the airport had "misused its monopoly power in the past" in negotiating airside charges with airlines.

"We're examining the decision and the [Sydney Airport] board will meet next week," an airport spokesman said.

The tribunal, which is administered by the Federal Court, ruled that future price negotiations must be approved by an arbitrator - most likely the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The 172-page ruling, which was fully published yesterday, overturns the Federal Government's deregulation of airport pricing that came after Sydney Airport was privatised in 2001.

"We are satisfied that any commercial negotiations in the future between SACL [Sydney Airport Corporation] and airlines using Sydney Airport as to the non-price terms and conditions on which the airlines utilise the facilities and related services at Sydney Airport are likely, as in the past, to continue to be protracted, inefficient and ultimately resolved by SACL using its monopoly power to produce outcomes that would be unlikely to arise in a more competitive environment," the tribunal said.

Macquarie Airport's shares fell 7c to $3.02 even though the group played down the impact of the decision, which it said would affect around 3 per cent of its revenues.

A Macquarie Equities report warned Sydney Airport could rein in its expansion plans if it could not get an "acceptable" return on the investment.

"While the airport has not reached capacity, certain bottlenecks could form over the next couple of years if no investment is made," the report said.

"Passenger growth has also been below the initial ACCC expectations, so it is difficult to see how it could be argued that the airport has been over-recovering," the report said.

In handing down its findings, the competition tribunal said the airport proposed in mid-2004 to lift domestic charges by 4.44 per cent a year (in real terms) over seven years. It proposed raising charges per passenger from $2.88 in 2004 to $4.63 in 2011.

The airport later proposed real price hikes of 2.15 per cent a year. That was partly based on the airport calculating its planned capital works as $426 million over seven years as opposed to $317 million over five years in the previous model.

An airport spokesman played down the prospect of spending being curtailed due to Friday's decision. He said most of the $20 million upgrade to domestic Terminal 2, used by Virgin Blue and Jetstar, was due for completion in the first half of 2006.

The ACCC's monitoring of airside charges is also unlikely to affect the airport's plans to spend $200 million improving its three other key earners - car parking, retail rents and property leasing.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 08:06 AM   #364
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Australia's Qantas Revenue Seat Factor 81.2%
13 December 2005

SYDNEY (Dow Jones)--Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN.AU) said in a statement Wednesday that passenger capacity grew at a faster rate than traffic in October, when compared to October 2004.

The airline said that revenue passenger kilometers increased by 3.2% while available seat kilometers grew by 3.6% from October 2004, leading to a 0.3 percentage point decline in its group revenue seat factor to 77.2% for the month.

Qantas international revenue seat factor in October of 75.2% was 0.4 percentage points lower than last year, while domestic traffic revenue seat factor fell 0.3 percentage points to 81.2%.

Qantas also said it has increased its fuel hedging for fiscal 2006 to 75% with its average hedged price for West Texas Intermediate crude rising to approximately US$52.40 a barrel, inclusive of option premium.

It said even after the benefits of hedging and recently increased fuel surcharges, and taking into account some impact on demand, it would face an estimated shortfall of A$350 million to A$450 million to offset higher fuel costs this financial year.

Restructuring costs associated with its Sustainable Future Program of between $A60 million and A$80 million will be incurred in the first half of 2006 including management retrenchment and voluntary redundancy costs, the airline said.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 08:08 AM   #365
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14 December 2005

Qantas chooses Boeing for US$20b fleet expansion


SYDNEY : Australian flag-carrier Qantas announced that it had chosen Boeing's 787 long-haul airliner as the "cornerstone" for a major renewal of its fleet, snubbing rival Airbus for a deal expected to be worth some 20 billion US dollars.

The Qantas board said it would acquire 115 of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, rather than the Airbus 350s.

Qantas said it was ordering 65 of the twin-engine, wide-body aircraft for delivery from 2008 for use by Qantas and its budget offshoot Jetstar, which is due to begin international operations in 2007.

The airline also took purchase rights for an additional 50 787's to account for future growth of its fleet.

The decision was a blow for Airbus, which had been pushing its fuel efficient A350 to Qantas.

Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon said the tender had been "very competitive, with excellent options proposed by both Boeing and Airbus".

"The Boeing 787 provides breakthrough technology, enabling us to fly further to more point-to-point destinations throughout the world at a cost equivalent to operating larger aircraft like the Boeing 747-400," he said.

"The Boeing 787 is ideal for operating to Asia, as well the USA and Europe, and with 300 seats, will enable both Qantas and Jetstar to closely target markets without compromising efficiency," he said.

"Its new technology engines, cutting-edge airframe and increased seat count also offer a significant reduction in costs ... compared to the current Boeing 767."

Dixon said one of Qantas' priorities in choosing Boeing was the need to have Jetstar to be ready for international operations by early 2007 "with the fastest possible transition to new technology, more efficient aircraft."

Jetstar would begin its overseas operations with an interim fleet of four A330-200 aircraft and move to a fleet of 10 new Boeing 787s with delivery of the first aircraft scheduled for August 2008.

Qantas Chairwoman Margaret Jackson said the purchase of the new aircraft would be funded from operating cash flow.

"These new aircraft are vital for our continued growth in the face of increasing competition in the years ahead," she said.

"They will cater for international capacity growth and new routes, as well as replacing the Qantas Groups fleet of wide-body Boeing 767-300s," she said.

Center for Asia Pacific Aviation chief executive Peter Harbison said both Boeing and Airbus were likely to have proposed incentives to win the orders.

Airbus had been a strong competitor in the past, offering perks like full pilot training, he said.

Qantas has already approved orders for 12 of Airbus's new super jumbo A380s, with the company planning to fly the aircraft on the Australia-US route after delivery in late 2006. - AFP/ir

Copyright 2005 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #366
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Qantas spends $$Billions on new aircraft

14 December 2005

Qantas chooses Boeing for US$20b fleet expansion

SYDNEY : Australian flag-carrier Qantas announced that it had chosen Boeing's 787 long-haul airliner as the "cornerstone" for a major renewal of its fleet, snubbing rival Airbus for a deal expected to be worth some 20 billion US dollars.

The Qantas board said it would acquire 115 of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, rather than the Airbus 350s.

Qantas said it was ordering 65 of the twin-engine, wide-body aircraft for delivery from 2008 for use by Qantas and its budget offshoot Jetstar, which is due to begin international operations in 2007.

The airline also took purchase rights for an additional 50 787's to account for future growth of its fleet.

The decision was a blow for Airbus, which had been pushing its fuel efficient A350 to Qantas.

Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon said the tender had been "very competitive, with excellent options proposed by both Boeing and Airbus".

"The Boeing 787 provides breakthrough technology, enabling us to fly further to more point-to-point destinations throughout the world at a cost equivalent to operating larger aircraft like the Boeing 747-400," he said.

"The Boeing 787 is ideal for operating to Asia, as well the USA and Europe, and with 300 seats, will enable both Qantas and Jetstar to closely target markets without compromising efficiency," he said.

"Its new technology engines, cutting-edge airframe and increased seat count also offer a significant reduction in costs ... compared to the current Boeing 767."

Dixon said one of Qantas' priorities in choosing Boeing was the need to have Jetstar to be ready for international operations by early 2007 "with the fastest possible transition to new technology, more efficient aircraft."

Jetstar would begin its overseas operations with an interim fleet of four A330-200 aircraft and move to a fleet of 10 new Boeing 787s with delivery of the first aircraft scheduled for August 2008.

Qantas Chairwoman Margaret Jackson said the purchase of the new aircraft would be funded from operating cash flow.

"These new aircraft are vital for our continued growth in the face of increasing competition in the years ahead," she said.

"They will cater for international capacity growth and new routes, as well as replacing the Qantas Groups fleet of wide-body Boeing 767-300s," she said.

Center for Asia Pacific Aviation chief executive Peter Harbison said both Boeing and Airbus were likely to have proposed incentives to win the orders.

Airbus had been a strong competitor in the past, offering perks like full pilot training, he said.

Qantas has already approved orders for 12 of Airbus's new super jumbo A380s, with the company planning to fly the aircraft on the Australia-US route after delivery in late 2006. - AFP/ir

Copyright 2005 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 11:50 AM   #367
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787 looks fancy.




They will perhaps order more A380 aircrafts later. But 12 of 149 total ordered is not that bad for a start either.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 12:09 PM   #368
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wow these planes really do look magnificent and 115 ordered, jeez well Qantas must be really expanding. This has to be the biggest single order of a widebody aircraft in history. 65 firm + 50 op = 115. I think the more recent largest order would have been the SQ order of like 77 aircraft of the triple777.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 01:41 PM   #369
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Love the 787!! They look fantastic, can't wait to fly on one. Congrats Qantas & Boeing.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 12:43 AM   #370
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65....damn
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Old December 15th, 2005, 12:56 AM   #371
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky88
787 looks fancy.




They will perhaps order more A380 aircrafts later. But 12 of 149 total ordered is not that bad for a start either.
EWWWWWWwww

the wings look sooo retarded.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 02:31 AM   #372
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Leg room to burn as three on Ozjet flight
Steve Creedy, Aviation writer
15 December 2005
The Australian

STRUGGLING business-class start-up Ozjet has been operating flights with as few as three passengers and will cut its schedule over Christmas because of poor demand.

Ozjet chief executive Hans van Pelt confirmed yesterday that some flights had run with only a handful of passengers.

"There are few of those, and there are a few that have got 20, 30 or 40," he said. "We're a new kid on the block and the load factors are improving."

Mark Day, a columnist with The Australian, said he flew on a 3.55pm flight to Melbourne on Monday with two pilots, four cabin crew and just three passengers. Day said his flight back to Sydney on Tuesday was cancelled because of aircraft service difficulties and he was bumped to Qantas. Another report said a plane was evacuated after a fault triggered a false fire alarm.

Mr van Pelt admitted the airline had suffered "a few technical issues" and people had been taken off planes.

The Ozjet chief said the airline was maintaining its overall schedule integrity and its on-time performance was no worse than its competitors.

It would reduce its flying during the Christmas week and the first week of January but was still working on details. However, it expected to bounce back when the business market began to pick up in February and was due to take delivery of a fourth aircraft in January.

Ozjet raised eyebrows among an already sceptical aviation industry when it decided to launch at the end of November and at the start of the traditionally quiet Christmas business travel period.

Asked about the launch timing, Mr van Pelt said regulators had not given the green light earlier and it was a choice of sitting out a quiet business travel period or trying to get some momentum going.

"We knew that in December and January, we were going to lose money. We budgeted for it, it's tough to do, but we've taken this approach that we'll get as many people on board as we can to convert them."

Mr van Pelt said Ozjet was getting a positive response from passengers, the travel industry and was signing corporate deals.

The airline also expected to get a boost from deals with distribution systems that would allow it to start selling e-tickets by early next year.

"I think we'll get very quickly to the point where we won't have enough seats in the market and we'll be turning people away," he said.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said Ozjet was under increased surveillance because it was a start-up but this was a normal practice.

It was also required to do additional checks and maintenance because of its older aircraft, but he was not aware of any major problems.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 02:33 AM   #373
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Qantas signals Pacific fare war . . . with itself
Clive Dorman and Rod Myer
15 December 2005
The Sydney Morning Herald

QANTAS yesterday vowed to slash fares to the United States, announcing the planned expansion of its budget carrier Jetstar to US routes and a massive $10 billion investment in 65 new-generation Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft from 2008.

The move will add to the political pressure on the Howard Government to keep Singapore Airlines locked out of the lucrative Pacific routes and is designed to deflect one of main arguments for exposing Qantas to more competition over the Pacific - that the airline has been charging excessive fares to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

By launching discount flights to North America, Qantas is also trying to head off moves by its domestic competitor, Virgin Blue, to fly to Los Angeles.

Singapore Airlines has been lobbying the Federal Government for permission to fly the Sydney-Los Angeles route, one of the most lucrative in the world, because Qantas currently faces competition from only one carrier, a weakened United Airlines trading under bankruptcy protection.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said Jetstar would line up against its parent airline on US routes "in the immediate future " - well before the introduction of the new planes. The 787s will revolutionise the economics of the airline, allowing it to operate more direct services to Asia and North America.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 07:04 PM   #374
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Crash report to query audit
Ian Gerard
16 December 2005
The Australian

A REPORT to be released today into Australia's worst air disaster in 40 years is expected to reveal possible breaches of flying regulations by the airline involved and raise serious questions about a Civil Aviation Safety Authority audit of the company just two months before the tragedy.

In May, a Fairchild Metroliner plane operated by Transair slammed into a cloud-covered ridge and burst into flames as it prepared to land at the remote Queensland Aboriginal community of Lockhart River, on Cape York.

All 15 passengers and crew on board were killed instantly.

Two months before the tragedy, CASA completed an audit of Transair and, despite being told by two of the company's former pilots that the airline had breached safety regulations "over a long period of time", gave the company the all-clear.

"While that gave rise to some issues, none of it gave rise to any issues such that it would suggest that we would not renew or could not continue with their air operator certificate," CASA chief executive Bruce Gemmell told a Senate committee hearing on the crash.

Ending a seven-month investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the report into the circumstances of the crash will be released in Canberra today.

On May 7, the twin-engine 19-seater plane slammed into the 400m-high South Pap ridge after failing to clear its jungle-covered crest by 50m on approach to Lockhart River.

The pilot in command, Brett Hotchin, and his co-pilot, Tim Downs, did not report any problems with the aircraft when they made a routine mandatory radio broadcast at 11.41am as they were approaching the airport at about 9000ft.

Transair has consistently defended its safety record on the basis that it passed a comprehensive safety audit by CASA before the crash.

However, the plane may have been as much as 1000ft below the minimum safe altitude at which it should have been flying when it crashed into the ridge, 11km northwest of the Lockhart River air strip.

Australian air procedures state that the plane should have been flying at a height of between 2860ft and 2115ft and observing a minimum safe altitude of 2060ft.
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Old December 17th, 2005, 02:11 AM   #375
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Air crash families frustrated by findings
17 December 2005
The Age

RELATIVES of victims of Australia's worst plane crash in almost 40 years say they are frustrated with an inconclusive report into the disaster.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau yesterday released its interim findings into the May 7 crash on Cape York, which killed all 15 people on board a Transair commuter plane.

But the ATSB is still unable to say why the Fairchild Metroliner twin-engined aircraft was flying 1000 feet too low when it crashed into a ridge.

The plane was making its final descent in poor weather to Lockhart River airfield near a Cape York Aboriginal community when it failed to safely clear the ridge.

The aircraft was destroyed by an "intense fuel-fed fire" after it crashed into trees and large boulders, destroying the cockpit voice recorder and hampering efforts by ATSB investigators to piece together what happened.

ATSB deputy director of aviation safety investigation Alan Stray said a ground proximity warning system should have alerted the two-man crew well before impact.

"However, we have got no way of knowing if the ground proximity warning system worked or not," he said.

"Unfortunately, the cockpit voice recorder malfunctioned and we were not able to get any sound from that, that had meaningful or useful information."

Mr Stray said the ATSB hoped to release a final report in six months.

"We are seven months into the investigation. We have got a lot of analysis left to do. It's a very complex investigation."

Shane Urquhart, the father of killed policewoman Sally Urquhart, said the report did not address questions such as why the plane was flying so low, descending "extremely quickly" and trying to land in poor weather. "What we were looking for was some causal factors," he said.

Fiona Norris, whose husband and Transair pilot Paul Norris was a passenger on the flight, was critical of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's role in regulating Transair.

She also said there had been a lack of support for victims' families since the accident.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 10:43 PM   #376
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Outsourcing no flight of fancy, says Qantas
Steve Creedy
20 December 2005
The Australian

QANTAS yesterday seized on an Air New Zealand decision to axe 110 jobs and send its widebody aircraft engine maintenance overseas as another example of why its Australian operations must significantly reduce engineering costs.

Qantas executive general manager (engineering) David Cox pointed to the AirNZ decision as another example of major carriers using overseas providers for maintenance, repair and overhaul, with rates 20 per cent below those in Australia.

"These providers offer a global reach and scale that individual airlines struggle to achieve," he said. "This is creating a new competitive dynamic in a major part of our business that we have to respond to."

While Qantas recently decided to keep maintenance of Rolls Royce engines in Australia, more than 3000 other jobs could head overseas after February, unless management and unions agree on significant cost cuts.

The Air NZ decision gives Qantas officials additional ammunition as they pursue cutbacks in overtime and shift allowances that would amount to a pay cut of 15-20 per cent, by union estimates.

The New Zealand decision was a concern for Australian workers, said Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association president Michael O'Rance.

He said Australians were being asked to compete with Asian and Chinese markets, where wages and skill levels of some workers were low.

Mr Cox said the airline's preference was to fund enough productivity improvements to keep the work in Australia.

But he warned: "If this proves to be impossible, we will have to look at offshore alternatives."

The Qantas manager said enterprise bargaining talks with the Australian Workers Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, due to resume in mid-January, had been productive, but unions should be in no doubt about the global issues driving Qantas.

Air NZ unions and its engineering division went through a similar process, but were unable to deliver a viable case for keeping the engine work in-house.

Air NZ chief executive Rob Fyfe said an "extremely bleak" analysis showed that volumes in the business were low and falling, with no sign of sustainable third-party work or identifiable joint venture partners.

However, a decision on whether to outsource a further 507 Air NZ widebody airframe maintenance jobs has been deferred until February, to allow for further negotiations.

Mr Fyfe said some work could stay in New Zealand, if the unions and their members were able to commit to "extensive across-the-board" labour reform.

The reforms could include suggestions already made by the unions, such as flexible shifts, time off in lieu and fixed-hour employee arrangements.

He estimated that the airline would need to make $NZ48 million ($44.6 million) in cost savings over five years to keep widebody airframe maintenance in-house.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 05:09 PM   #377
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OzJet mum about cancelled flights
Scott Rochfort
21 December 2005
The Sydney Morning Herald

OZJET'S troubled first month in the skies continued yesterday when the airline cancelled more flights between Sydney and Melbourne.

It offered no explanation for the cancellation of the two flights. On previous occasions it blamed cancellations on a lack of passengers or on mechanical problems.

After only three weeks in the air, the carrier has already had serious disruptions to its services on three occasions.

It comes just one week after OzJet cancelled flights after a hole was discovered in the exhaust of one of its jets.

A routine maintenance check last week uncovered the hole in an exhaust pipe running between the engine of an OzJet 737 to the auxiliary power unit (APU) at the rear of the plane.

It is understood the hole was discovered near the engine. The APU is used to power the electrical components, air conditioning and ignition of the engines on a jet.

OzJet spokesman Geoff Harris did not return the Herald's phone calls.

Its founder, Paul Stoddart, was unavailable.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said: "There's no safety problem with a hole in an exhaust pipe unless they've got a heat warning sensor going off."

CASA, meanwhile, hosed down concerns it would require OzJet to conduct more maintenance on its jets after they arrived in Australia from their overhauls in Romania.

Mr Gibson said OzJet did not have to redo any of the Romanian work but only had to conduct additional checks and maintenance as part of CASA's ageing airline program.

"As part of the certification process we applied the ageing aircraft program to the OzJet aircraft,' he said.

The program applies to aircraft more than 12 years old. OzJet's jets date back to the mid-1970s.

Despite OzJet's teething problems, there were positive signs on the state of the domestic aviation market yesterday after Sydney Airport put out its best figures on domestic growth in months.

It reported a 4.4 per cent lift in domestic traffic in November compared with the same month last year.

Growth has been relatively flat throughout much of the year.

The figure offset a relatively weak 0.4 per cent lift in international traffic at Sydney Airport, blamed on a dip in traffic from Germany and Canada.
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Old December 21st, 2005, 04:19 PM   #378
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OzJet needs six months, says founder
22 December 2005
The Age

FLEDGLING business class airline OzJet has six months to prove its viability and slow business over the holiday period will not affect financial projections, according to founder Paul Stoddart.

"We would look at its performance after six months and the only thing that would stop us would be if the public was not giving us support," he said.

Concerns about OzJet's ongoing operations were raised by some observers when the airline cancelled two services this week.

However, Mr Stoddart said the flight reductions were seasonal and not a reflection of financial or technical troubles.

The airline would fly on reduced service levels in the run-up to Christmas until early January because of low demand for business seats, he said.

"(Business) people don't travel at this time of the year. That's why Qantas and Virgin Blue are offering cut-priced flights now," he said.

Mr Stoddart said a full flight schedule of 16 flights a day between Melbourne and Sydney would be reintroduced in January and this may be expanded to 24 flights in February. That expansion would depend on flights towards the middle of the day attracting enough patronage.

Business travel demand was strongest in the morning and evening, Mr Stoddart said.

Observers have criticised OzJet's decision to begin flying before the Christmas break, saying it would impinge on its viability. However, Mr Stoddart said the time was deliberately chosen to allow the airline to "clear out bugs" in mechanical and systems operation while passenger demand was low. The strategy was successful, he said, and the airline was now operating satisfactorily.

After only three weeks with planes in the air, mechanical issues have caused disruptions three times.

A routine maintenance check last week uncovered a hole in an exhaust pipe running between the engine of an OzJet 737 to the auxiliary power unit (APU) at the rear. It is believed the hole was discovered near the engine. The APU is used to power the electrical, air conditioning and starting of the engines on a jet. Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said: "There is no safety problem with a hole in an exhaust pipe unless they have got a heat-warning sensor going off."

Mr Stoddart said OzJet had been launched before the holiday season to iron out the bugs in its machinery and operating systems. Glitches had appeared and flights were cancelled in previous weeks but technical problems had been sorted out, he said.

CASA, meanwhile, eased concerns about it requiring OzJet to conduct more maintenance on its jets after they arrived in Australia from their overhauls in Romania.

Mr Gibson said OzJet did not have to re-do any of the work done in Romania but only had to conduct additional checks and maintenance as part of CASA's ageing airline program.

"As part of the certification process we applied the ageing aircraft program to the OzJet aircraft," he said.

The program applies to aircraft more than 12 years old. OzJet's jets date back to the mid-1970s.
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Old December 24th, 2005, 08:45 AM   #379
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OzJet into clear air turbulence
John Masanauskas
24 December 2005
The Courier-Mail

STRUGGLING new airline OzJet has slashed its flight schedule for the holiday period as industry experts question its future.

The $40 million business class carrier will operate only two flights a day from Melbourne to Sydney over the next fortnight as corporate Australia shuts down for the Christmas break.

OzJet's normal schedule is eight daily flights in each direction, Monday to Friday.

The Paul Stoddart-owned airline has struggled to fill seats since its launch last month, with some flights having only three passengers.

The standard one-way fare of $325 has been cut to $249 until the end of January.

Melbourne-born Stoddart, the former Formula One Minardi team owner, is using jets from his UK-based aviation business which were given a maintenance overhaul in Romania.

Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation senior analyst Ian Thomas said yesterday that OzJet's business model was flawed. Mr Thomas said while the airline offered good service and comfort for business travellers, its fares were not cheap enough.

"Qantas has been providing further incentives to customers through its expansive business relationships with corporate and government accounts," he said.

"There's not sufficient pricing differentiation to drive people on to OzJet."

OzJet chief executive Hans van Pelt dismissed the criticism, saying the airline was launched during a quiet business period and initial financial losses had been expected.

Mr van Pelt revealed Mr Stoddart and the management team had considered delaying the launch until after the holiday period next year.
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Old December 30th, 2005, 05:15 PM   #380
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Qantas ground jobs hang on Air NZ decision
Scott Rochfort
29 December 2005
The Sydney Morning Herald

ANOTHER 200 Qantas jobs hang in the balance until Air New Zealand announces the winner of its new Australian contract for ground-handling services, probably early in the new year.

Air NZ has used Qantas as its ground handler in Australia since the 1960s. It is Qantas's biggest foreign customer for those ground services.

But as part of its bid to slash the costs of its money-losing trans-Tasman operations, the New Zealand carrier has requested proposals for a new ground-handling contract.

The airline's chief executive, Rob Fyfe, has already said the biggest cost-cutting opportunity Air NZ and its low-cost subsidiary, Freedom Air, have this side of the Tasman is to renegotiate and combine their ground-handling contracts.

Qantas faces stiff competition from rival ground handlers such as Menzies Aviation, Patrick Air Services and Aero-Care.

About 300 Qantas ground staff lost their jobs in October when Singapore Airlines ditched its 40-year-old ground-handling contract with Qantas.

Singapore Air awarded its Sydney and Brisbane contract to a Patrick and Aero-Care joint venture and its Melbourne contract to Menzies.

Air NZ's delayed decision is believed to be a result of the carrier realising the complexities of re-awarding the contract. It covers ramp handling (aircraft loading), passenger services such as check-in and baggage handling, cargo and line services (engineering checks).

There is growing speculation Qantas will keep the contract.

In June, Air NZ's Rob Fyfe said Freedom Air's ground-handling contracts in Australia cost about half of Air NZ's.

Qantas's recently established low-cost ground-handling subsidiary, Express Ground Handling (EGH), has not applied for the Air NZ contract. But this has not stopped speculation Qantas will eventually move more of its ground handling to EGH to slash costs.

EGH was set up last year to help handle Jetstar's ground services. Compared to Qantas ground handlers, EGH staff are on less pay and do not earn the same shift or special allowances.

Qantas ground crews, for instance, earn $3.68 each time they clean up "nightsoil" or faeces, get $2.10 for carrying a coffin and an $8.50 meal allowance. EGH staff get no nightsoil allowance, $1.98 for carrying a coffin and an $8.14 meal allowance.

Compared to Qantas ground crews, who earn up to $905.70 a week in base pay, the highest paid EGH ground crews get $772.56 a week. Unlike Qantas ground crews, which recently negotiated a 3 per cent annual pay rise through the Transport Workers Union, EGH staff only received a 2 per cent annual rise.

Patrick, which recently won the "ramp-handling" contract to load United Airlines planes in Sydney and Melbourne from Menzies, and its partner Aero-Care have non-unionised staff.

Menzies already does Freedom Air's ground handling in Melbourne and Sydney and has applied to do Air NZ's in the two cities.

The 17 airlines for which Menzies does ground handling in Sydney include Emirates, Cathay Pacific and FedEx.
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