Christmas flight chaos on the cards as Jetstar pilots threaten strike action

Jetstar tail and delayed passengers
There may be some very unhappy trans-Tasman travellers this festive season. Photo credit: Getty Images/Newshub.

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) has taken the first step in an industrial action process that could lead to widespread disruption for Jetstar passengers over the Christmas period.

Despite the federation being in discussions with Jetstar since January, the AFAP says talks have recently broken down.

The AFAP has applied to the Australian Fair Work Commission, which needs to give permission for pilots to take a vote on whether to begin strike action.

The industrial action options range from work-to-rule - when an employee sticks to their contracted duties and shift times, and says no to any overtime offers - to complete walk-out strikes of up to 24 hours at a time.

Jetstar is offering a three percent pay rise annually, however pilots who are members of the AFAP are asking for 15 percent.

AFAP executive director Simon Lutton said the union was taking the step because members were disappointed that negotiations with Jetstar over a new enterprise agreement had stalled.

"As negotiating with the company in good faith has gotten them nowhere, they have been left with no choice," Mr Lutton said.

A Jetstar spokesperson told Newshub the company was disappointed that the AFAP had taken a step towards strikes.

"There are many complex areas to discuss and working through the AFAP's numerous claims and their many modifications takes time," the spokesperson said.

"We remain committed to reaching an agreement for a new EBA to support the great work our people do every day, but not at any cost."

Jetstar says any action will only involve Australian pilots, so disruption to New Zealand flights should be minimal.

A pilot's pay:

Jetstar Airbus A320
An A320 is a narrow-body aircraft Photo credit: Jetstar

Narrow-body captain: AU$304,576

Narrow-body first officer: AU$184,260

Jetstar 7879 Dreamliner
Boeing Dreamliner is a wide-body aircraft. Photo credit: Jetstar.

Wide-body captain:  AU$323,274

Wide-body first officer: AU$234, 516

The above figures are the average annual salaries for Jetstar pilots who fly 75 hours a month.

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