Another 20,000 airline seats will be ripped out of Qantas schedules from next week as more planes are grounded by licensed engineers’ ongoing industrial action.
A total of seven Qantas aircraft will be out of action from Monday, forcing the cancellation of almost 500 flights over the next month, the Courier-Mail reported.
As many as 240 of those cancellations will impact on Brisbane travellers with seven services already cut.
Virgin Australia has already put on extra flights in response to the strife and will continue to “monitor the situation and add extra capacity where needed”, a spokeswoman said.
“Basically we have been seeing good seat uptake, and we’re also gaining momentum in our strategy to increase our share from the corporate sector,” communications manager Emma Copeman said.
“There are extra flights available and we’re very committed to pricing them competitively.”
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has laid the blame for the cancellations on the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers’ Association which has been exercising overtime bans and go-slows since July.
He said the ALAEA had given Qantas written notification the bans would be in place until Christmas.
“If this overtime ban continues, we will be grounding even more aircraft,” Mr Joyce said.
“This is impacting our passengers’ holiday and business travel plans and it is impacting on the tourism industry.”
A Qantas spokesman refused to say if mounting cancellations would lead to staff being stood down or hours cut.
He said the airline was yet to work out the actual cost of the industrial action which has disrupted an estimated 60,000 passengers to date.