The FRMS was approved by Australia’s aviation safety regulator CASA, following a 12-month trial. The long-range flights are part of Qantas’ Project Sunrise, which is set to commence in 2023.
The process of this particular FRMS has been unusual in that it was put together by Qantas itself, rather than Qantas adopting a template from CASA.
The Qantas pilots’ union Australian International Pilots Association (AIPA) is negotiating with Qantas over a pay deal for the ultra-long-range flights. It feels it has been sidelined from the FRMS process.
Mark Sedgewick, AIPA President, said: “This is a clear breach of the regulator’s legal and safety responsibilities, according to advice from the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which states that pilots must be involved at all stages of an FRMS implementation. AIPA is concerned that Qantas is fast-tracking the establishment of an FRMS in order to allow certainty over an investment decision for the delivery of its A350 aircraft order. This has the potential to undermine safety and threaten Qantas’ reputation.”
CASA spokesperson Peter Gibson said the regulator responded to AIPA's concerns and considered that it needed only to consult with the union when making decisions that had ‘broad aviation industry application’, and not in decisions in ‘relation to one individual operator and its personnel’.