Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Jetstar Group CEO Bruce Buchanan are no shows at today’s public hearing by the Senate committee inquiring into pilot training and airline safety in Australia.
However while their attendance had been widely anticipated, and indeed requested, they were never confirmed as attending today to answer further questions arising from their previous testimony on February 25.
Both men are very busy, and certainly too busy today for the Senate. Which will just have to wait.
But the inquiry, chaired by Senator Bill Heffernan, and instigated by Sentator Nick Xenophon, has produced some astonishing revelations to date, including a series of ‘stick shaker’ events on Qantaslink turbo props, the very ones the good senators often fly on.
It has also heard the CEO of CASA, John McCormick, and the chief commissioner of the ATSB, Martin Dolan, flatly contradict the Qantas submission on the causes of the near disaster with a Jetstar A320 attempting to land in fog at Tullamarine on July 27, 2007, and it has heard Joyce rebuffed trying to reinvent history over the reasons for the CASA inquiry into the incident.
It will hear from McCormick and Dolan again today.
And it will hear from the pilots, or at least the major union, when the Australian and International Pilots Association, returns to the table, fuming, one suspects over the testimony on the Jetstar Cadet Scheme/sham/whatever, that Buchanan gave on February 25 because this seeming attempt to subvert Australian superannuation levies and industrial awards or agreements by paying Australian workers NZ money. And not very much of it either.
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That Cadet Scheme now appears to have morphed into something else. Buchanan’s commentary on this is apparently eagerly awaited, and no doubt both he and Joyce will grace the inquiry with their attendance in due course, when it suits them.
Also rocking up to the table today is Virgin Blue CEO John Borghetti, who it is expected will take the inquiry through the two pages A4 sized submission his company made to the inquiry. The committee has provided at least 90 minutes to discuss the two pages with Borghetti, which should be an interesting if not searching exercise.
Borghetti was unable to attend the February 25 hearings because he was in Abu Dhabi stitching up his former employer Qantas with a wickedly clever alliance with Etihad.
He has a fantastic opportunity this morning to sell the merits of his E-jet flights to Canberra to the good senators over those clunky buzzy stick shaking Qantaslink prop jets.