Flights cancelled as pilots refuse to fly
Budget airline Tigerair is reassuring passengers contingency plans are in place as pilots walk off the job this morning to protest wages and working conditions.
The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP), which represents about 75 per cent of Tigerair pilots, has gone ahead with planned industrial action today that started at 5am and due to wrap up about 9am.
Pilots will also refuse to operate planes with non-safety related defects over the Australia Day long weekend.
Tigerair said it has rescheduled flights during today's four-hour industrial action and moved thousands of affected passengers to later flights or services with Virgin Australia.
About 15 flights have been affected, Fairfax reports.
"Tigerair wishes to reassure customers that earlier this week all flights originally scheduled between 0500 - 0900 on Friday 25 January were rescheduled as part of proactive contingency planning to minimise the impact of the proposed stoppage of work by the AFAP pilots," the airline said.
"Flights scheduled on Saturday 26 - Monday 28 January will not be impacted by a stoppage of work by pilots.
"All customers have been notified directly via SMS and email about the changes to their flight schedule and re-accommodation onto the next available Tigerair or Virgin Australia service, and will have already received their new itinerary if impacted."
The AFAP has blamed stalled negotiations over a new pay and conditions agreement with the airline.
"Tigerair pilots fly the same aircraft as their counterparts at Jetstar, Virgin and Qantas but this is not reflected in their employment conditions," senior industrial officer James Lauchland said in a statement.
"The current agreement is well below industry standards, both in terms of pay and conditions. Tigerair pilots are simply looking for a fair deal."
Mr Lauchland added Tigerair pilots have not had a pay increase for two years.
"Tigerair insists on finding savings in return for our claims for industry standard pay and conditions," he said.
Tigerair said plans are in place to deal with stoppages.
"Tigerair Australia is currently negotiating a new Enterprise Agreement for pilots with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Federation of Air Pilots and VIPA (the association for Virgin Australia group pilots)," a spokesperson for the airline said.
"Tigerair continues to negotiate in good faith with the AFAP/VIPA and we look forward to reaching a mutually beneficial outcome as soon as possible."
Tigerair passengers who were due to fly today have been advised to check any changes to their itinerary with the airline or their travel agent.
- with Ben Graham