These are the facts don't let the emotional "I don't want some overseas guy fixing my plane" cloud your judgement
The international side of the Qantas business is being dragged down by cost structures a hefty 24 per cent higher than rivals, by competition from airlines run by oil-rich governments and by geographical challenges.
Our national carrier is an end-of-the-line airline, not one operating from the world's major hubs. So the decision by Qantas to cut unprofitable routes and to build two new airlines in major Asian hubs using 110 new narrow body aircraft makes eminent commercial sense. In fact, it's good old common sense.
Unencumbered by logic, the unions are the biggest drag on our flying kangaroo. Take, for example, the pilots' union demand that all pilots on Jetstar and other Qantas affiliate airlines be paid the same as Qantas pilots. This is sheer economic lunacy. Jetstar operates in the very different, low-cost leisure market. The low-cost airline has excelled because it has negotiated different enterprise agreements with its staff that enable it to compete favourably with other low-cost airlines.
Now check out the terms of your average Qantas pilot. They receive higher salaries than most long-haul pilots across the globe and fly fewer hours, receive six weeks' leave and 25 sick days. They get cheap flights and upgrades to the pointy end of the plane. But they want more - for starters, a 2.5 per cent wage increase for the next three years, free international economy tickets, upgradable to seats closer to the cockpit and $1 million to fund their union bosses each year.
The pilots' greedy demands will endanger the low-cost Jetstar business and burden Qantas with costs its international airline cannot afford. Simple mathematics tell you this is not good for customers or jobs.
Consider also the deceptive claims from the highly educated engineers' union that also likes to use the more highfalutin label of an "association". Their emotive claim for "job security" is a demand to entrench outdated and inefficient maintenance practices that most other airlines have long since reformed. To get a sense of the backward-looking unions, the engineer's union demands would prevent Qantas from updating its maintenance in line with new regulations set down by Australia's Civil Aviation and Safety Authority regulations.
And don't fall for the unions' wicked use of emotional tricks. Steve Purvinas, the boss of the engineers' union, said last month: "Alan Joyce does not want Australian aircraft engineers inspecting aircraft because we find things wrong with them; he'd rather take his chances that nothing goes wrong at 40,000 feet."
Apart from ignoring the crucial fact that 90 per cent of maintenance of Qantas aircraft occurs in Australia, is Purvinas really making the knuckleheaded claim that the 82 per cent of passengers who travel overseas on an airline apart from Qantas are willing to take their chances that nothing goes wrong at 40,000 feet? This arrant nonsense highlights why the union movement has only itself to blame for its slow demise.
Try this on for size, too. The pilots' union and the engineers' union have raised questions about the $200m loss suffered by Qantas International. And hot on their heels, the headline-hunting independent senator, Nick Xenophon, wants "forensic scrutiny" of the accounts.