Qantas 'disturbed' by claims its workforce has been 'infiltrated' by gangs involved in organised crime

The Australian airline said it was unaware of any investigation.
The Australian airline said it was unaware of any investigation. Photo credit: Getty Images/Newshub

Gang members involved in organised crime have "infiltrated" Australian airline Qantas, according to an investigation by Nine in Australia.

The allegations, which were broadcast on 60 Minutes on Sunday, came from classified intelligence documents stating organised crime groups had infiltrated Qantas to facilitate illegal activities.

In a statement, Qantas told Nine it found the claims "disturbing," but said authorities had not raised any concerns with them.

"To be clear, none of Australia's law enforcement agencies have told us of the existence of a report that suggests there are potentially 150 Qantas employees who have connections to organised crime. Nor have they raised concerns with us about our vetting or background checking processes," Qantas Chief Security Officer Luke Bramah told Nine in a statement.

"If concerns are raised regarding any of our employees, we will actively support their investigation and take appropriate action." 

Nine owned newspaper Sydney Morning Herald said the classified intelligence operation found as many as 150 Qantas staff were linked to criminality. 

The paper reported official sources close to the investigations couldn't speak publicly "due to confidentiality requirements," but the suspected wrongdoing was "serious and represents a very high threat to the Australian border".

One detailed allegation involves staff at Qantas' Sydney airport operations centre being involved with the importing of narcotics.

Australian opposition politician Kristina Keneally has called the allegations deeply disturbing, placing the blame squarely on prime minister Scott Morrison.

"COVID is changing how our airports work, & with these new allegations, it's now time for a new airport security review," Keneally said in a tweet.

Qantas says it has contacted multiple agencies including the Australian Federal Police and the Criminal Intelligence Commission, asking for more information about the investigation.