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Tuesday 02nd of September 2014

Qantas management accused of safety breach

    Engineers working for Australian flagship airline Qantas have called on the air safety watchdog to investigate the airline after alleged safety breaches were committed by managers.  These issues have led to a long-running dispute between the airline’s engineers and management.

    The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia claims Qantas managers who replace them at night are taking shortcuts, hiding engineering reports and lowering safety margins. One example is a Boeing 737 which was allowed to fly with a crack in the cockpit windshield, increasing the risk of cabin decompression.

    The union, which represents professional engineers who check Qantas faults and sign off on repairs, say that the Boeing 737-800 was incorrectly cleared to fly from Sydney to Canberra and then from Canberra to Darwin and back before it was eventually grounded.  It was estimated that 400 passengers were at risk, and claims that the flight breached air worthiness directives.

    In an open letter to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, boss John McCormick, andsenior industrial officer Alison Rose said that the union believed that poor engineering decisions had occurred due to those management authorised persons having very little recent experience or day-to-day knowledge of the disciplines they are servicing or the aircraft type they are supporting.

    Qantas rejected the accusations, saying that they were very confident that standards are being upheld subject to regulatory approval. The airline said in a statement that all contingency arrangements were being undertaken by certified engineers. APESMA members commenced an overtime work ban in November.

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