A Brisbane-based travel company has rebooked more than 5000 flights on the weekend for customers affected by industrial action over Qantas Airways pay and work conditions.
Corporate Travel Management (CTM) managing director Jamie Pherous (pictured) says his business responded to an exponential growth in call volumes by pooling national human resources.
“90 per cent of our clients made it home due to our technology allowing us to patch into our telephone system,” says Pherous.
“Within 45 minutes of the grounding, we had 40 people manning calls. We answered 80 per cent within five minutes of waiting.”
Pherous says the grounding of Qantas is not merely affecting the single airline.
“Qantas is part of our national infrastructure. It stops tourists from going on holidays, business people from attending conferences, doctors from performing operations, and freight deliveries from reaching their destinations,” he says.
“Corporate groups were stuck in Melbourne during race week. We also had to arrange alternate routes for fly-in, fly-out miners so they could get to work.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has given Qantas, the Australian and International Pilots Association, Transport Workers Union and Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association 21 days to resolve the matter or Fair Work Australia will enforce a settlement for them.
At last week’s annual general meeting, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce predicted that industrial action since August had cost the carrier more than $68 million and affected at least 71,000 passengers.
CTM expects airfares to remain expensive until the dispute is resolved.
“A full fare between Melbourne and Sydney costs $850. As a result of this, people are likely to postpone making trips,” says Pherous.
“It wouldn’t be good for businesses, if Qantas were not to fly for more than one week.”
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