Fair Work Australia has upheld Qantas' application against the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) and issued binding orders requiring the union and its members to cease unprotected industrial action.
The ALAEA had instructed its members to take unprotected industrial action by conducting maintenance tasks that are no longer required under a new system of maintenance for Boeing 737-
800 and Airbus A330 aircraft. This system has been formally approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and commenced yesterday.
The Fair Work Australia orders take effect from 8pm on Thursday 14 June 2012.
The unprotected industrial action has had no impact on passengers or flights.
Qantas Domestic Chief Executive Officer Lyell Strambi said the new maintenance system brings Qantas into line with aircraft manufacturer guidelines and other airlines, including Virgin Australia and Jetstar.
"We have invested significantly in new aircraft, which enables a more modern approach to servicing and maintenance. Modern aircraft have sophisticated systems which alert us to mechanical issues meaning engineers don't need to check the aircraft before every single domestic flight," Mr Strambi said.
"Our cars don't get repaired the same way as they did 20 years ago and the same goes for our aircraft.
"Safety will always be our first priority. As other airlines have already proven, and the safety regulator permits, we can improve our efficiency by deploying the right people to the right tasks without compromising safety.
"This change means that highly skilled engineers will be spending more time and skills where they are needed most instead of doing checks that are not required.
"Qualified and appropriately trained pilots will continue to perform a pre-flight check prior to each flight departure and an engineer will be assigned to every aircraft that needs a check performed, as per the CASA-approved system of maintenance."
Qantas will continue to have licenced engineers conduct a pre-flight check on all international flights and domestic flights with older B767 and B737-400 aircraft.
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