Qantas halts operations in the wake of union strike

Australian national carrier Qantas has cancelled ALL its flights until further notice. This kind of reaction to a union strike is unprecedented and has effectively led to grounding of the entire fleet. The airline advises its customers that “customers booked on Qantas flights should not go to the airport until further notice and should contact their local Qantas office for further assistance”. Qantas Link and Jetstar flights would continue to operate as normal.

This brings the Qantas management head-on with the striking unions which have been striking in demand for better wages. With this the battle is now out in open and it can be expected that the Government of Australia may step in soon to mediate between the workers and the management and will definitely cause huge losses both monetary and reputation wise for the airline which has been in talks with the unions for the last 15 months.

In the meanwhile the airline is offering a full refund to any passenger who chooses to cancel their flight because it has been directly affected by the grounding of the fleet  or avail Full re-booking flexibility for those who wish to defer their travel but given the current scenario where the suspensions are indefinite i really doubt how the re-booking would work. Also the airline will be providing assistance with accommodation and alternative flights, as well as other support to passengers who are mid-journey.

Meanwhile another Australian carrier Virgin Australia has started offering “Stranded Passenger” fare for Qantas travelers which can be availed by passengers “currently at a port away from home and hold a Qantas ticket to return home initially within the next 5 days” More details are awaited about this fare and the airline intends to keep updating the same on its website http://www.virginaustralia.com/

Virgin Australia is in talks with its alliance partners which include Etihad, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines to find out if they can help add extra flights “as soon as possible”.

Qantas seems to be really having a tough days ahead of it and it really needs to work its way through all this to get back in action and win its customers back.

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