Pilots are asking to refuel at regional airports and not at airports in the capital, which would cost the airline extra money (i.e. an additional ticket per flight) but would not disrupt passenger traffic. Simon Lutton, executive director of the Australian Air Pilots Federation, said rex management`s response would almost certainly cause disruption and let passengers run aground at regional ports across Australia. AfAP has asked for the Commission`s support for fair work to move the negotiations forward. The couple held a conciliation conference on Friday afternoon, but the only agreement was to continue the discussions. “They don`t have enough pilots in some places,” Lauchland said. “They are using pilots from other states in their operations in Queensland.” James Lauchland, AFAP`s industrial/legal advisor, said Rex pilots did not have high salaries compared to others in the area, but most of them did not complain in the past about flying during the day and returning home at night. The most damaging would be four-hour work stoppages, but that would be a last resort because the pilots did not want to create disruption for passengers, he said. AFAP has been negotiating for about two years with the management of the regional airline a new collective agreement covering the airline`s more than 260 pilots. The last agreement expired on June 30, 2014. But he said that over the past six to seven months, the airline has sent pilots more nights from home, citing a lack of pilots in some areas.
Some pilots had spent up to five nights at a time. This happened when the promoter of the expansion developed in Queensland. “For example, Rex made an extraordinary effort to overcome the critical shortage of pilots by creating a pilot academy more than 10 years ago to train local cadets in air traffic controllers with Rex – something even Qantas or Virgin Australia haven`t done to date.” Sharp also stated that, despite the LA, Rex would continue to source pilots, instructors and engineers in Australia. “MPs are not unreasonable when they take these steps,” Said Mr. Lutton. “They are simply trying to protect their regional pilot lifestyle, including workable with private and family life.” The LA allows Rex to recruit overseas pilots, maintenance engineers and instructors who meet the requirements for the Temporary Skilled Personnel Shortage Visa (SST) of sub-category 482.