The removal of a John Travolta safety video from Qantas flights has fuelled union fears that chief executive Alan Joyce is set to announce a major restructure of the airline that will include pilots' jobs being outsourced.
The in-flight safety video starring the actor and Qantas ambassador includes the line "There's no one I'd prefer to have at the controls than a Qantas pilot".
Qantas yesterday confirmed a new message featuring Qantas staff was being introduced.
The move has spooked unions who are pushing for a "Qantas flight, Qantas pilot" clause in the new enterprise bargain agreement.
Australian and International Pilots Association vice-president Richard Woodward said the removal of the video indicated Joyce was eager to outsource Qantas jobs to overseas pilots. "They're doing it already," Woodward said, pointing to the Jetconnect service operating between Australia and New Zealand.
"If you catch a flight across the Tasman to New Zealand in any form you'll be flying on a plane that looks like a Qantas airline, but in fact it's a labour hire company based in New Zealand called Jetconnect," he said.
But a Qantas spokesman said the Travolta video was always intended to be temporary. "The change of video has absolutely nothing to do with the pilots' union," he said.
He added that the arrangement with wholly owned Qantas subsidiary Jetconnect, whose staff are employed under the New Zealand award, was "entirely appropriate" given that all Jetconnect services either departed or landed in New Zealand.
"Jetconnect poses no threat whatsoever to the employment of Qantas pilots," the spokesman said.
Qantas is undertaking a review of its international business, including looking at underperforming routes.
The results will be announced on August 24.
Woodward said he expected Qantas would pull out of a number of international routes including San Francisco, New York, Buenos Aires and Narita in Tokyo. But Qantas said it was too soon to comment on the review.
"No final decisions have been taken yet about individual routes and any suggestion otherwise is simply speculation," their spokesman said.