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UPDATE: Jetstar’s woes extend to Phuket and Japan flights

Jetstar 787
Jetstar 787 to Phuket


Baggage handlers call off strike

Workers at Dnata, which provides baggage handling and other ground services to Qantas, have called off a strike planned for Monday after reaching a new agreement with the company.

The Transport Workers Union said Dnata has agreed to a 17% pay rise over four years, better conversion to full time and permanent work for part-time and casual employees, and improved consultation over workplace changes.

Dnata also dropped a bid to reduce overtime entitlements, the TWU said.

Workers had planned to go on strike for 24 hours, beginning at 3.30am on Monday.

The action would have primarily hit international flights, but would have had knock-on effects that could also have affected local flights that have already been beset by delays and cancellations, sparking an investigation into Qantas by the consumer watchdog.

SOURCE: Guardian Australia


Jetstar’s problems have spread from Bali to engulf Phuket and Japan flights, as cancelled and postponed flights have become commonplace across its Asian Boeing 787 fleet.

Jetstar, the discount offshoot of Qantas, is blaming a “perfect storm of events”, including a lightning and bird strike, and supply chain issues for spare parts for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.

But the holiday dreams for up to 4,000 fliers have turned into nightmares as holidaymakers and travellers are stranded back in Australia, unable to start their travels, or people trying to return to Australia and unable to get on a plane.

The budget airline has been forced to cancel flights to Phuket and Japan alongside its earlier cancellations to Bali. The carrier has been unable to offer some customers new flights home more than a week after their original travel dates. Other customers have had flights cancelled and rescheduled up to three times.

According to Flightradar, the aircraft recently out of operation include Dreamliners VKA, VKB, VKI and VJK, while VKL hasn’t flown since June, that’s half its long-haul fleet out of service.

Jetstar chief pilot Jeremy Schmidt  says that the Boeing 787 fleet has been impacted by a number of issues. He said another plane was damaged after hitting an item on a runway, while there have been delays in sourcing a spare part from the US due to supply chain constraints. 

“One spare part has to be road freighted across the US. Two more jets have been grounded for scheduled maintenance.”

The Australian reports Jetstar is hoping to have seven planes back in operation by today, while four others will remain grounded. 

“Next week, three more should have returned to service.”

The parent company Qantas Group is trying to alleviate the issue by putting passengers on specially added flights to Melbourne as well as regular Qantas services out of the region.

“We’re also offering credits, A$150 per night towards accommodation, and A$30 per person for food.”

And more bad news for the Qantas Group after the Transport Workers Union said that its Dnata ground handlers would strike for 24 hours next Monday, September 12.

It follows Qantas outsourcing 2,000 in-house ground handling roles to third-party companies, including Dnata and Swissport, last year. The Australian Federal Court has twice ruled that the Qantas decision breached the Fair Work Act, but said those employees won’t be able to get their old jobs back and must accept compensation instead.

Next Monday’s strike could also potentially affect those travelling on Emirates and Etihad, which also utilise Dnata ground handlers.

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