Qantas management fears Etihads growing stake in Virgin Australia will undercut profitable on domestic routes and may force the airline to reduce a number of its services.
Qantas chief Alan Joyce has been lobbying in Canberra against Etihads push to gain further assets in Virgin Australia, according to SMH BusinessDay.
Etihad recently purchased a five percent share in Virgin Australia and are believed to be pressing to double that, while Qantas postulates the state-owned airline endeavours for an even greater interest.
Revealed in a briefing paper, Qantas has argued the partnership would allow Virgin/Etihad to swallow up the majority of profitable domestic routes, leaving Qantas to operate on less popular services under the quasi-universal service obligation.
According to the paper, Etihad will cross-subsidise Virgin's domestic business with the specific aim of weakening Qantas and Virgin/Etihad will be able to flood the market with capacity until its competition is forced to significantly reduce its own operations or worse.
Amidst this turmoil, Qantas has announced the culling of more than 100 jobs at Sydney Airport, due to the transference of maintenance operations to Melbourne.
108 positions will be cut in Sydney, while 72 new employment opportunities will become available in Melbourne, resulting in a net reduction of 36 jobs, according to the Herald Sun.
Recently appointed Qantas Domestic chief Lyell Strambi said the consolidation was necessary.
As older aircraft are replaced with modern aircraft that have more advanced technology and require less maintenance, less often, there is a reduction in workload for our aircraft maintenance engineers, Mr Strambi said.
Qantas had stated it will aim to relocate affected workers to Melbourne or Brisbane where possible.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) national assistant secretary Glenn Thompson said the cutbacks have come at an inopportune time, following the disbandment of operations at Tullamarine and the culling of 400 positions.
For Qantas maintenance workers, it feels like their jobs have boarded an unpiloted, mystery flight with no strategic flight plan programmed in.
Qantas recently admitted its international business is struggling during a press conference at the Australian Tourism Exchange due to factors such as the Eurozone crisis, worldwide natural disasters and the ever-increasing cost of fuel.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T