Submission on Gov’t response to COVID-19 pandemic

In response to government-mandated travel restrictions and significant falls in travel demand, some airline operators have implemented severe reductions in the domestic and international flying schedules since March 2020.

Whilst the AFAP has encouraged airline operators to work together with pilots to find appropriate solutions to the pandemic’s impact on airlines and pilots, levels of cooperation from operators have varied. Some of the more widespread actions taken by different airlines and operators have included:

  • Requesting pilots to take any accrued annual or long service leave;
  • Standing pilots down with or without pay;
  • Reducing workloads from full-time to part-time;
  • Reducing pay and conditions;
  • Voluntary and involuntary redundancies; and
  • Suspending enterprise bargaining.

Further, some of these actions have been marked with levels of disregard for industrial laws and instruments or have been implemented in such a way that injustices of those laws and instruments have become starkly apparent, including:

  • Standing pilots down without pay when they have been on paid personal leave;
  • Standing pilots down without pay even though there may be no entitlement for the
    employer to do so under section 524(1)(c) of the Fair Work Act; and
  • Offsetting Jobkeeper payments against accrued entitlements such as annual leave.


Protecting Australia's Pilots