Qantas guilty of airport safety breaches
It has emerged that safety authorities upheld five safety complaints against Qantas last year at Brisbane airport.
News has obtained a letter, signed by the Civil Aviation Safety
Authority's executive manager of operations, which reveals five of nine
safety complaints against the airline were substantiated.
began in late 2010 when workers at Qantas's Q Catering facility in
Brisbane began complaining about a series of issues relating to the
movement and maintenance of catering vehicles on and around the airport
The complaints eventually made their way to CASA, which
subsequently investigated them, but the exact details of the events were
not made public.
Former Q Catering worker Wayne Bailey, who
recently took voluntary redundancy from the company, says there were a
number of worrying examples.
"It was the trucks we were more
dealing with," he said. "They're heavy trucks, they're quite large
trucks like you have on the road.
"The airport corporation rules state that all vehicles on the airport should be roadworthy.
had trucks that the front brakes locked up and they dived off to the
left or right. We had trucks that the rear demisters didn't work, which
if you are working at two o'clock in the morning on a rainy day and you
have no demisters you can't see you're trying to reverse and manoeuvre
around the tarmac and around million-dollar aircraft; billion-dollar
aircraft, and it was dangerous."
"We filled in the report forms
and everything that we are supposed to do that was Qantas procedure -
time and time again they were basically fobbed off and ignored."
all follows claims last week that the airline had breached engineering
safety guidelines by surprising staff with its recent announcement of a
major restructure, and revelations CASA was talking to the airline about
No-one from Qantas was
available for an interview on the Brisbane airport incidents, but in a
statement a spokesman said the issues at the airport were minor and only
related to a few catering vehicles.
In fact, he said, they were
so minor in nature that CASA deemed they were not safety issues which
required any directives on Qantas.
The Transport Workers Union,
which brought the complaints and which has been in a long-running
industrial dispute with Qantas, says no action was taken because, in the
words of assistant Queensland branch secretary Scott Connolly, the two
organisations are too close.
"I think the relationship between CASA and this particular company, Qantas, is far too cosy," he said.
evidence we've seen paints a picture where the company has absolute
disclosure with the safety agency that isn't shared with members of the
public or interested parties in the industry.
"These were critical
safety instances. We had situations where aircraft were at risk of
trucks ploughing into them...fully laden with passengers and it's a
terrifying indictment upon our system where our safety agency is saying
that's not serious."
A CASA spokesman said the incidents were
isolated in nature, that there were no contraventions of aviation safety
regulations, and that the organisation did discuss its findings with