Jetstar cancels 10 per cent of January flights, weighs selling planes

Jetstar will cancel 10 per cent of its flights in January and is considering selling three of its long-haul aircraft as it comes to terms with the financial cost of an industrial dispute with pilots and ground crew.

The budget airline said on Monday it was adjusting its schedule, as flagged by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, to manage the risk that Australian Federation of Air Pilots members will strike through its busiest month of the year, amid a stand-off over wages and conditions.

Jetstar has cancelled 10 per cent of flights in January.
Jetstar has cancelled 10 per cent of flights in January.

Jetstar cancelled 90 services over weekend as pilots walked off the job for four hours on Saturday and Sunday, and cancelled about 20 on Friday when ground crew went on strike.

The pilots’ union has said it will not take any industrial action from December 20 to January 3 but can resume after that, with the option of work stoppages of up to 24 hours.


Jetstar would not confirm exactly how many flights will be cancelled in January, but the airline operates around 370 flights a day, including international flights. A 10 per cent reduction in domestic services could see close to 1000 flights grounded in January.

Customers booked on affected flights will be contacted and offered alternatives, including full refunds, the airline said.

The Qantas-owned budget carrier said on Monday that the cost of disruption and cancellation in December and January would be $20 million to $25 million.

Jetstar workers on strike at Melbourne airport on Friday.
Jetstar workers on strike at Melbourne airport on Friday.Credit:Justin McManus

“There’s no doubt that industrial action is expensive and frustrating, but we have to hold the line on costs or it
threatens the long term sustainability of our business,” Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans said.

“We apologise to the customers whose plans have been caught up in what the unions are doing.”

Jetstar said it had undertaken a review of its fleet and network to “protect the airline’s ongoing profitability”, and identified three Boeing 787 Dreamliners currently flying loss-making or marginal international routes that it is considering selling.

Flights to Hawaii are expected to be on the chopping block if Jetstar does sell some of its long-haul aircraft, with the weak Australian dollar versus the greenback hurting traveller numbers to the holiday island.

More to come

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