Qantas flights resume after industrial dispute
At 3.30pm, Australia's air safety regulator CASA cleared Qantas to resume flying. Over the next hour cheers went up at Australian airports as gates finally opened for boarding. The first flight to take off was an Airbusbound for Jakarta from Sydney, followed by a domestic flight from Melbourne to Sydney.
The company warned the 70,000 passengers worldwide that have been affected by the disruption to expect delays, but said a full service was expected to be operating by Wednesday.
In a shock move, Qantas grounded its entire fleet of 108 planes on Saturday, disrupting nearly 70,000 passengers and bringing to a head a bitter battle with trade unions over wages, working conditions and its plan to base more operations in Asia.
The decision forced the government to step in and to demand the tribunal make an urgent ruling on the dispute. In the early hours of Monday morning, the tribunal ruled that all industrial action must cease and gave Qantas and the unions 21 days to reach an agreement or face binding arbitration.
Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO, said he was "delighted" with the outcome, widely considered to be a victory for the airline, but the unions warned they could appeal the tribunal's decision if the company did not negotiate in good faith.