Layoffs at The Addy? Has cost-conscious News Limited just sacked its finance department (the billing arm, not editorial) at The Advertiser in Adelaide? A spy tells us they all leave in November (Merry Christmas!) and Sydney takes over from then.

News Ltd’s director of corporate affairs, Greg Baxter, told Crikey only a few accounts functions will be moving. “We’re certainly not moving the entire finance department, if that’s what you’ve been told.” It’s a public holiday in South Australia, so the paper’s small-pond big wigs weren’t available, but the omniscient switchboard operator knew about the rumour. “I heard that on Friday, from someone in the finance department,” she said.

Hywood goes back to school. Melbourne High School alumnus turned Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood has promised “anecdotes” from his school days and his current gig when he addresses Sydney-based old boys at the plush South Steyne Waterfront Restaurant on October 20. Hywood did two long years at the school’s South Yarra castle in 1970-71 and the first question on his old schoolmates’ tongues would surely be the extent of Hywood’s role in luring The Australian‘s Michael Stutchbury to The Australian Financial Review

Emirates, Asian carriers hiring. As Qantas pilots revolt, rival Emirates is apparently in the market for qualified helmsman. Our spy reckons the UAE flag carrier is looking to recruit 1500 pilots over the next three years. “They are currently conducting roadshows and interviews in Australia,” they say. An Emirates spokesperson couldn’t confirm the 1500 figure, but the company is planning to recruit an extra 500 pilots globally this financial year. Emirates currently has 12,000 pilots on the books.

According to our source: “Seems that around 40 Qantas pilots have already resigned to go to (mostly) Emirates. Lots of others have already taken LWOP (Leave WithOut Pay) — something that would appear to have been encouraged by management to deal with Qantas’ apparent excess of pilots.” LWOP is a tricky business, they report:

“Most low-cost airlines require new intake pilots to pay for their endorsement on whatever aircraft type they are assigned to — usually something around $30,000 — and no pay until checked out and operational. That’s been the traditional thing. Seems from my sources around the place that Asian carriers are DESPERATE for pilots — Tiger (in Singapore, that is), SilkAir, Jetstar Asia, and others. Now, who would have believed, that Jetstar Asia is now paying a bonus of $24,000 just to go and sign the contract. The worm has turned maybe? This, all before the new premium Qantas carrier to be based somewhere in Asia, and also the new Singapore Airlines low-cost “carrier to be started real soon, have even started up. Where the heck are they going to get their pilots? And, how much will they have to pay them?”

Want to crew a Qantas flight? Meanwhile, a Qantas mole passed on this note dispatched late last week:

***** ATTN ALL B767 FLIGHT CREW ************ ANY CREW WHO ARE WILLING TO WORK OVER THE WEEKEND AND THE REST OF THE BID PERIOD CAN YOU PLEASE CONTACT CREWING.
IF YOU ARE ON ANNUAL LEAVE AND WILLING TO HAND IT BACK, PLS ADVISE.
THANKS
CREWING
*********************

They write: “What a pity so many have left, and continue to leave. Who would blame them.”

QC will squeal on NRL’s dummy play. Is it true that a leading Sydney QC is about to tip the bucket on the NRL about its unusual interference in the recent Brett Stewart judiciary case? We’re told the QC has a sworn affidavit claiming undue influence by the NRL and News Limited that caused him to withdraw from the case. “It’s simmering at the moment and will be a boiling pot once the grand final is over,” our tipster said late last week.

Coffee fuels AFL coach. And from the 3AW Rumour File: “Caller ‘That’s a lot of coffee’ says an AFL assistant coach has picked up a bill of $120,000 for the season in breakfast and coffee at a cafe. He says the bill was presented to the board last week and they are livid about it.” That is, indeed, a lot of coffee.

Peter Fray

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