Wednesday, 5 October 2011

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1.  Qantas management and staff threatened

Qantas has revealed that CEO Alan Joyce and other airline management and staff have received threats and intimidating notes in recent months.
Speaking to media in Sydney on October 5, Joyce said the threats go back to May, and that the airline had gone public only after a media outlet broke the story and an email he wrote to staff about the matter on October 4 was leaked.
“We’ve had this for some time,” he said. “The reason why we went public on it is as a consequence of the dispute we had the week before last. We actually had some bullying and intimidation… We had some damage of staff property, we had notes that were left at managers’ houses – people with small kids, and these were very abusive notes that were very clearly aimed at people that were management contingency during the industrial action.”
Joyce added that the email to all 30,000 of Qantas’s employees was to not only tell them that bullying and intimidation was not acceptable, but to also provide support to potential victims who were yet to come forward. “We decided that the best way to approach this was to give people the help and assistance they need,” he said. “Because our worry was that some people are not communicating all of the issues to us, so we put a note out telling people about the security (phone) numbers and the whistle blower numbers, so we can address any issue that’s occurred.”
Some representatives of unions currently in dispute with the airline, including Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) Secretary Tony Sheldon and Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) Secretary Steve Purvinas have suggested the threats were a publicity stunt by the airline, with Sheldon suggesting police should check the computer hard drives of Qantas’s PR team.
“I don’t think it’s been helpful for some of the union leaders to claim this is all a PR stunt,” said Joyce, responding to the unions’ suggestions. “This is not a PR stunt. There are actually people who have been intimidated, there have been cases that have gone to the police, and the police are investigating it. And I have to say that I think these union leaders should be taking it seriously, and those union leaders that are trying to deflect it and nearly be apologetic for it is just appalling. It just emphasises why we need union leaders to be strong and to say this behaviour, no matter where it comes from, is unacceptable.”
Qantas Head of Corporate Communications Olivia Wirth added that the airline had raised the matter with the TWU during discussions last week, the ALAEA today, and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), but the airline was yet to receive any assurances from the unions that their members were not involved.

2.  NYC copter pilot lost "dear friend" in crash

The man at the helm of a private helicopter that crashed into the East River on Tuesday, killing one passenger and injuring three others, was an experienced commercial pilot who owns a company that manages a local airport. Investigators are still trying to determine why the helicopter went down shortly after takeoff from a riverbank heliport.
Emergency crews arrived within seconds of the crash to find the helicopter upside-down in the murky water with just its skids showing on the surface. The pilot, Paul Dudley, and three passengers were bobbing, and witnesses reported a man diving down, possibly in an attempt to rescue the remaining passenger.

Sonia Marra, 40, who was killed Oct. 4, 2011 as the private helicopter she was flying in crashed into the East River in New York City. (Credit: Domino Postiglione/Fairfax Syndication)
New York Police Department divers pulled Sonia Marra, 40, (pictured at left), from the water about 90 minutes after the Bell 206 Jet Ranger went down at around 3:30 p.m. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, a portrait emerged of the pilot as an expert flier who once landed a plane in a field near Coney Island after its engine failed. Dudley owns Linden Airport Services, the company that manages the Linden, N.J., municipal airport under a 20-year contract with the city, Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka said.

"He's an accomplished pilot," Gerbounka said.

Pilot Owen Kanzler, who said he has known Dudley for at least 20 years, said he saw Dudley's helicopter take off from the airport around 3 p.m. Flight conditions were calm, he said, with fair weather clouds above the altitude where Dudley would have been flying.

"As long as I've known Paul, he's owned and flown helicopters," he said. "He's a nice, outgoing man who does a fine job running the airport."

In this Sept. 1, 2009 photo provided by the Staten Island Advance, Pilot Paul Dudley looks around for other air traffic while flying over the Hudson River near New York. (Credit: AP/Staten Island Advance)
The passengers were friends of Dudley's family and were visiting New York to celebrate the birthdays of Marra and her stepfather Paul Nicholson, 71. He was on the chopper along with his wife Harriet, 60; and a friend of Marra's, Helen Tamaki, 43. The Nicholsons are British but live in Portugal; Marra and Tamaki, a citizen of New Zealand, lived in Sydney, Australia. The group had planned to do some sightseeing and then go to dinner in Linden, police said.

The pilot's wife, Sunhe Dudley, told The Associated Press that she had spoken to her husband briefly after the crash.

"These were actually very dear friends of ours that were in the helicopter," she said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Dudley apparently reported problems in the helicopter and tried to turn around but instead crashed into the water.

3. Quantas strike: Airline executives receive death threats

Qantas boss Alan Joyce has received a death threat, managers have been sent menacing letters and strike-breaking workers bullied amid a bitter industrial dispute, the airline said Wednesday.
Qantas is facing industrial revolt from all three of its staff unions — the Transport Workers Union and those representing pilots and engineers — after announcing plans to cut 1,000 workers as it focuses business towards Asia.
The carrier said Joyce had been the victim of threats, without going into details, but one letter reportedly told the Irish chief executive: “It’s coming soon Paddy. You can’t even see it.”
“The Unions will fight you… Qantas is our airline, started & staffed by Australians, not foreign filth like you,” the Sydney Daily Telegraph reported the typed threat as reading in part.
The letter said Joyce’s “evil plans” would come back to haunt him and he would be kicked out of the country, the Telegraph reported.
The paper also said senior Qantas staff had their car windows smashed and houses damaged after refusing to strike.
A spokeswoman for the airline confirmed that Joyce had received a death threat but added: “We can’t go into any details.”
Qantas corporate affairs director Olivia Wirth, who admitted she had also received threats, said workers who chose not to take part in strike action had been bullied and intimidated.
Joyce said Qantas management had “received menacing correspondence, including to their homes” in what he described as “abhorrent, and illegal” acts.
“Those who are in the business of using threats, violence and intimidation to obtain their industrial ends should know this: these tactics are cowardly and deplorable,” Joyce wrote in a memo to 35,000 staff.
“They will not work. Anyone who is caught will face the full consequences.”
Unions are locked in protracted contract talks with Qantas and its Asia restructuring plans have inflamed tensions, with workers demanding guarantees on pay and conditions under the airline’s new strategy.
Qantas doubled its annual net profit to Aus$250 million ($239 million) in August and upped Joyce’s pay by 71 percent to Aus$5 million, angering staff facing job cuts.
But the unions denied any involvement in the threats and questioned Qantas’ decision to make them public.
Union officials have also been on the receiving end of threatening messages, Transport Workers Union (TWU) national secretary Tony Sheldon said.
Sheldon showed nine emails to reporters in Sydney, including one which read: “You lazy dirty bunch of scabs. Pulling strikes at this time of year has finally made all TWU members the most hated in the country.”
Another said: “The next bus leaves at midday BE UNDER IT.”
Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association federal secretary Steve Purvinas said threatening behaviour was unacceptable and should be taken to the police.
He said it was “a possibility” the threats had been concocted to garner public support for the airline, which is considered a national icon.
“But I don’t think that Alan (Joyce) has written a letter to himself for that purpose,” he told ABC Radio.
Without naming the company or people involved, New South Wales police said they had investigated a threatening letter sent to a senior executive in May.
“The author was identified and the matter finalised,” a spokeswoman said.
Police were still investigating an incident last month in which an employee received a threatening letter and several phone calls at their home address which were hung up once answered, she said.
Officials are also attempting to confirm reports of malicious damage to cars at a company car park, she added.

Pilot Paul Dudley seen flying over the Hudson River

Australian Aviation NEWS

CBS News
NEW YORK - The man at the helm of a private helicopter that crashed into the East River on Tuesday, killing one passenger and injuring three others, was an experienced commercialpilot who owns a company that manages a local airport. ...
San Francisco Chronicle
Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- American Airlines is set to resume contract negotiations with pilots, a bellwether work group in industry labor talks, after parent AMR Corp.'s shares fell the most since 2003 on concern the company may file for bankruptcy. ...
New York Post
By BILL SANDERSON and JENNIFER BAIN The pilot whose sightseeing chopper crashed into the East River yesterday has had trouble in the sky before -- once guiding a single-engine plane to an emergency landing in a Brooklyn park. ...
CBS News
(CBS/AP/TSA) ATLANTA - A select group of travelers may find it easier Tuesday getting through security checkpoints at four major US airports in return for voluntarily providing more personal information to the federal government as part of a new pilot ...

Aviation NEWS By
Neha Jain
Aviation NEWS Reporter



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