Business, Finance & Economics

Qantas takes to the skies again


A Qantas airplane takes off at Melbourne Airport on October 31, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.


Scott Barbour

Qantas has resumed flights.

A flight from Sydney to Jakarta, Indonesia, carrying 88 passengers took off shortly after 3:40 p.m. local time, after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority gave the airline the all-clear (a formality after an airline has been grounded), a spokeswoman for the carrier told Bloomberg.

The resumption comes after an Australian court ruled on a labor dispute that prompted the "Flying Kangaroo" to ground its entire fleet Saturday, stranding nearly 80,000 passengers.

The ruling by Fair Work Australia (FWA), requested by the government — concerned at the economic impact the grounding was having — gave the two sides 21 days to reach an agreement. In the meantime, it has outlawed strikes and banned Qantas from locking out workers from three unions.

If the two sides can't reach an agreement after 21 days, FWA may begin an arbitration process that will impose a resolution.

According to Bloomberg:

The ruling marks a victory for [Qantas CEO Alan] Joyce, 45, whose move to ground the fleet with no notice sparked criticism from Prime Minister Julia Gillard, union leaders, tourism operators and stranded passengers. Joyce is seeking to reverse losses at the Sydney-based carrier’s international operations by setting up new ventures overseas, while also cutting jobs in Australia.

Rolling work stoppages had forced the cancelation of 600 flights in recent months, disrupted travel for 70,000 passengers and  cost Qantas 68 million Australian dollars ($72 million) and caused a plunge in bookings, according to the Associated Press.

The airline jumped as much as 7.4 percent in Sydney trading, the most in two months, Bloomberg adds.

Qantas reportedly said that it may take "one or two days" to work through a backlog of flights and return to its normal schedule, the AP reports.