AFAP wins right to represent Qantas Mainline pilots

The AFAP welcomes the right to again cover all Australian professional pilots, including Qantas mainline pilots.

On 9 June 2021 a full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) upheld a rule change decision that will enable the AFAP to cover all Australian pilots and compete with other pilot unions to represent Qantas mainline pilots.

The bench (comprised of Vice President Hatcher, Deputy President Gostencnik and Deputy President Anderson) noted the “AFAP’s extensive experience representing pilots across the whole of the aviation industry” and found it was well-placed to properly represent international and domestic pilots' industrial interests.  

The decision highlighted the advantages of the AFAP as a result of its structure as an occupational union and its extensive exposure to the whole industry.  It noted that the AFAP had the capacity to draw on the knowledge and experience of pilots from a range of other airlines and the AFAP’s Councils operating in connection with those other airlines, and also that the AFAP had the capacity in bargaining to obtain non-confidential information from other airlines and operators.

The bench also noted “… the high current level of union density among Qantas’s pilots and for pilots in the aviation industry generally” and acknowledged: “… all other things being equal, the higher the level of unionisation (a) the greater the collective power of the employees and (b) the more authoritative and effective the voice of the employees in their discussions with management. If union density among Qantas pilots remains at a high level, as I expect it will, even though it will be spread between the AIPA, the AFAP, and, to a minor extent, the TWU, the collective power of the pilot cohort will remain strong and the voices of those pilots will remain authoritative and effective.”

The AFAP will continue to act in all members' best interests, and cooperate with other unions as necessary, to build and enhance the collective power of all Australian pilots.

With more than 5500 members, the AFAP is the largest professional association and industrial organisation for commercial pilots in Australia. It has advocated for safety and technical reforms in Australian aviation since it was established in 1938.

Australian and International Pilots Association v Australian Federation of Air Pilots & Transport Workers' Union of Australia [2021] FWCFB 3293 (9 June 2021)


Protecting Australia's Pilots