Even though the fares may be a little more expensive than other airlines, Qantas is still Kaye’s first choice when she flies. But she is concerned that Qantas is in danger of forgetting the country which made it great in the first place.
Over the years Australian ingenuity has created many world firsts. And our propensity to even dare to dream on a scale out of all proportion to our tiny population, means we have often punched far above our weight in sporting, creative and business arenas. One such example is Qantas Airlines; an airline which started in a tiny shed in the outback Queensland town of Longreach and now operates world-class services to all corners of the globe, with a safety record that most other airlines can only envy. Experts say that the Qantas brand is worth billions. And I think most Australians would agree, that while we may whinge about flight delays and minor inconveniences, we do feel safe when we know a Qantas pilot is in the front of the plane.
Recently David and I were privileged to see the now famous Captain Richard de Crespigny as he walked through the cabin on a flight from London. In case you have forgotten, Captain de Crespigny was the man in charge when flight QF32 had a mid-air engine failure. He and his crew managed to stabilise the A380 and then land the plane safely and calmly, ensuring no lives were lost in the process.
So when I heard the announcement on a recent Qantas flight that pilots are concerned this safety record is about to be threatened, I listened up. They are very concerned about a proposed management strategy which will replace Australian Qantas pilots with outsourced and offshore alternatives. The pilots are so concerned they have created an advertising campaign and a website which explains why they are negative about their jobs going offshore or being outsourced.
I agree with their views. You simply can’t claim to be an iconic Australian airline – and play Peter Allen’s I still call Australia home in your ads – unless you allow your most important staff to still call Australia home as well. I realise that, compared to the rest of us, Qantas pilots earn a huge salary. And as with brain surgeons and police chiefs, I don’t begrudge them a penny of it. Most of the time, if I have a choice, I will fly Qantas as I feel this airline offers relatively good service and a predictable experience, but most of all, a standard of safety that I think I deserve. So let’s support our pilots to continue to live and train here and offer the best of the best.
What do you think?
Are Qantas pilots right to complain about moving their jobs offshore?
Or are they merely whingeing?
And do you think Qantas is still an Australian airline? Or is it gradually losing this identity?
If you agree that Qantas pilots should be based here, you can sign an online petition now.