Qantas pilots caught sending offensive messages about female colleagues and new airline CEO Vanessa Hudson
- Qantas male pilots made offensive remarks about female colleagues
- Airline has condemned the comments
Qantas pilots have been caught sending each other offensive messages about their female colleagues, including one claiming women had ‘an advantage in every area’.
The online chat forum features messages dating back to 2018, and is understood to be made up of Qantas employees and moderated by a captain at the airline.
In one post, one man is seen complaining about their female colleagues being given flexible working hours.
‘A rapid influx of female pilots of a certain age group, spawning offspring, and then wanting flexible work arrangements,’ they wrote in the forum, The Herald Sun reported.
‘I spoke to (someone) a years back about flexilines, and he said they weren’t available for male SO’s (second officers) for exactly that reason.’
In another post, one disgruntled man said that ‘women pilots have a huge advantage’ in every area he could think of.
‘They can go off, run their breeding program or get a cushy job in the office at twice the pay of the other full time office staff while chest feeding,’ he wrote.
‘Have their kids. Keep their seniority number. Come back and do their command. Be chosen for management roles over a dude.’
He then said ‘most chicks’ he knew were tougher than men but then made another sexist remark.
‘If you can do it, you can do it and if you can’t, you can’t. I know plenty of stories of pretty chicks getting a leg up in a GA company over the blokes,’ he continued.
‘It happens. The lesbian chief pilot at my last GA job made my life a living hell. She absolutely hated me. I had to suck it up.’
The airline’s new CEO Vanessa Hudson was also targeted in one post, which was discussing the announcement of pilot scholarships for 50 female students and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, in May this year.
‘Interesting the day we get a female CEO announced is the day we get advised of this overt discrimination,’ the man wrote.
Two of the pilots involved in the chat forum no longer work for Qantas, while a third is not flying and is under investigation.
Qantas Chief Pilot Dick Tobiano condemned the posts as ‘completely unacceptable’.
‘They’re offensive, don’t reflect our values and have no place here or in any other workplace,’ he said.
‘We have many talented female pilots at Qantas and we want to encourage a lot more of them. Aviation hasn’t been good at that historically and clearly some outdated thinking still exists in some pockets.
‘Criticism of these programs doesn’t change our view.’
The President of the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), Anthony Lucas, echoed Mr Tobiano and said the comments were ‘deplorable’.
‘They could not be reasonably condoned in any decent workplace let alone in aviation, where co-operation and respect for your colleagues is crucial to doing your job effectively,’ he said.
‘I know the overwhelming majority of Australian pilots would find these views abhorrent, and it is important to note a handful of forum comments are not remotely representative of the broader group.’
Around the world just five per cent of commercial airline pilots are women.
At Qantas this number is at seven per cent, and 15 per cent at the airline’s regional brand, QantasLink.
Women make up 20 per cent of the Qantas Group Pilot Academy.